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3  1833  01964  3078 

Gc  971 .301  M58L  pt . 3 
London  and  Middlesex 

Historical  Society  (Ont.) 
Transactions  ...  London  and 

Middlesex  Historical  Soc . 



oi  the 

Xonbon  anb  /IbibMesey 
Ibistorical  Society 


Pttblislteb  bi)  the  ^ojcietg 

1bi8torical  Society 

TRANSACTIONS,   1909-1911 





ipubligbeD  be  tbe  Society 





2ND   Vice-President— MISS   Macklin. 
Secretary-Rev.  Geo.  M.  Cox. 
Treasurer— JOHN  Dearness. 
Curator-Dr.    S.  Woolverton. 


Miss  Moore,  Thos.  Bryan,  Cl.  T.  Campbell,  m.D. 
AUDITORS- Thos.  Bryan,  Cl.  t.  Campbell. 


Armstrong,   George  W. 
Baker,    Samuel 
Bartlett,  Walter 
Becher,  H.   C. 
Beattie,   Mayor   J.   H.   A. 
Beattie,   Major  T.,   M.P. 
Beck,   Hon.   Adam 
Bland,   R.   R. 
Brickenden,   G.  F. 
Brickenden,   Mrs.    G.   F. 
Brown,  Miss  Rose 
Bryan,  Thomas 
Buchner,   U.   A. 
Cameron,    Sheriff  D. 
Campbell,  Dr.    CI.   T. 
Campbell,  Mrs.   CI.   T. 
Chapman,  J.   H. 
Cottam,   John 
Cottam,    Bart. 
Cowan,   R.  K. 
Cox,  Rev.   Geo.  M. 
Coyne,   Miss  M.   H. 
Cronyn,  Hume 
Daly,    J.   M. 
Davidson,   S.  K. 
Dearness,   John,  M.A. 
Duffield,   J.  C. 
Edmunds,   P.   J. 
Elliott,  Judge  Edward 
Evans,  Mrs. 
Fraser,   Alex. 
Fraser,  Mrs.  Alex. 
Friend,   John 
Gates,  H.   E. 
Greenlees,   Andrew 
Gunn,   G.   C. 
Hambly,   Jno.   H. 
Hammond,  F.   J. 
Harvey,   Alex. 
Healey,  Mrs.   C. 
llobbs,   Thos.   S. 
Hoag,    J.   P.,   B.A. 
Hughes,  Dr.  F.  W. 
Hunt,   J.  A. 

Hutchinson,   Dr.   T.   V. 
Jeffery,  A.   O.,   LL.D. 
Jones,   J.   W. 
Judd,   J.   C,   K.C. 
Little,    Col.  J.  W. 
Landon,   F.,  B.xV. 
Labatt,  John 
Lawson,   Frank 
MacDonald,   Dr.   P. 
McQueen,   Alex. 
McCrimmon,   D. 
Macklin,   H. 
Macklin,  Miss   Stella 
Minhinnick,   Miss  G. 
Mitchell,   B.   A. 
Moore,  Miss  M.  A. 
Morgan,  Aid.  A.  J. 
Murphy,   Capt.   T.   J. 
Perrin,   F.   E.,   B.A. 
Pinnell,   Lawrence 
Pope,  J.   K.   H. 
Priddis,  Miss  Harriet 
Puddicombe,   R.   W. 
Purdom,  T.  H.,  K.C. 
Raymond,   F.   W. 
Reason,   Dr.    H.   T. 
Richter,   Aid.   J.   G. 
Robinson,  George 
Rodger,   David 
Rowe,   Thomas 
Scandrett,   J.   B. 
Saunders,  W.    E. 
Sharp,    Arch. 
Smallman,   T.   H. 
Smith,  E.  B. 
Smith,  Mrs.   E.   B. 
Stephenson,   John 
Stevenson,  Andrew,  B.A. 
Talbot,    Oliver 
Tillmann,   A. 
Weld,  Edmund 
Wilkie,  David 
Williams,   W.   T.   T. 
Winnett,   J.   W.   G. 
Woolverton,   Dr.   S. 
Wriffht,    S.   R. 

The  London  and  Middlesex  Historical  Society  was 
organized  in  the  year  1901.  Its  objects  are  to  promote 
historical  research,  and  to  collect  and  preserve  records  and 
other  historical  material  that  may  be  of  use  to  the  future 
historians  of  our  country.  Its  funds  are  devoted  exclusive- 
ly to  these  objects  ;  there  are  no  salaried  officers. 

The  Public  Library  Board  grants  the  Society  the  free 
use  of  a  room  for  its  meetings,  which  are  held  on  the  third 
Tuesday  evening  of  each  month  from  October  to  April,  in- 
clusive, and  to  which  the  public  are  invited — admission  al- 
ways free.  Membership  in  the  Society  is  open  to  any 
person  interested  in  its  objects,  and  is  maintained  by  the 
payment  of  an   annual   fee   of  fifty  cents. 

ilxrcnmtiixtn^  xti  tlt:e  '^ttnbxtn  unit 


Oct.  19th,  1909— "Elements  of  Canadian  Greatness,"  by  the 
Postmaster  of  London,  Ontario  (Peter  Macdonald,  Esq., 

Nov.  16th— At  the  Normal  School,  "The  Quebec  Tercente- 
nary," by  Miss  Fitzgibbon,  Secretary  of  the  Women's 
Historical  Society,   of  Toronto. 

Jan.  17th,  1910 — "The  founding  and  early  history  of  the 
Western  Medical  School,"  by  H.  A.  McCailum,  Esq., 
M.  D. 

Feb.  15th — At  the  Normal  School,  lecture  on  "The  War  of 
1812,  '13,  '14,  and  Battle  of  Yorktown,"  by  Barlow 
Cumberland,  Esq.,  President  Ontario  Historical  Society. 

March  15th — Annual  Meeting;  Reports  of  Officers;  Report  on 
the  Historical  Exhibition  at  the  Western  Fair,  under  the 
supervision  and  valuable  aid  of  Mr.  Pratt;  on  the  erec- 
tion by  the  Society  of  a  stone  monument  with  brass 
tablet  bearing  an  inscription  as  a  memorial  of  the  "Vic- 
toria Disaster"  (May  24,  1881)  ;  on  the  publication  of 
Part  II.  of  "Historic  Sketches  of  London  and  Middle- 
sex." Officers  elected  : — President,  Mr.  A.  W.  Eraser  ; 
Vice-President,  Captain  T.  J.  Murphy  ;  2nd  Vice-Presi- 
dent, Mrs.  Geo.  Brickenden;  Secretary,  Rev.  Geo.  M. 
Cox  ;  Treasurer,  Mr.  J.  Dearness  ;  Curator,  Dr.  Woolver- 
ton.  Executive  Committee — Miss  Priddis,  Miss  Loug- 
heed,  Mr.  Henry  Macklin,  Dr.  CI.  T.  Campbell,  Mr.  Har- 
vey,   and  the   officers. 

April  19th— "  The  Life  of  Lord  Durham,"  by  Mr.  John 

Sept.,  1910 — A  large  and  most  interesting  exhibition  was, 
by  the  courtesy  of  the  Western  Fair  Board,  given 
throughout  the  duration  of  the  Western  Fair,  of  objects 
of  local  and  general  historic  value. 


October  25th,  1910— "Historic  Landmarks,"  by  J.  Stewart 
Carstairs,    Esq.,   of  Toronto. 

November  22nd— "Experiences  of  Messrs.  Harry  Salter  and 
Robert  Allan  in  H.M.  One  Hundredth,  Royal  Canadian 
Regiment  about  the  year  1858,"  read  by  President  A. 
W.  Fraser. 

December  20th—"  The  London  Military  School,"  by  Secretary 
Rev.   G.  M.   Cox. 


January  17th — "The  Settlement  of  London"  (Part  I.),  by 
Dr.  CI.  T.   Campbell. 

February  21st— "Training  for  Industrial  Life,"  by  Mr. 
Clarkson  W.  James,  C.S.R.,  of  the  Education  Depart- 
ment, Toronto  (read  at  the  Normal  School)  ;  also  "The 
War  of  1812,  with  special  reference  to  General  Proctor's 
retreat  up  the  Thames,"   by  Mr.   Black,   of  Chatham. 

March  21st— "The  Settlement  of  London"  (Part  II.)  ;  also 
a  report  by  the  Treasurer  (Vice-Principal  Dearness)  of 
"The  Annual  Meeting  of  The  Ontario  Historical  Society 
at  Brockville,    1910." 

April  20th— "Tecumseh  and  the  War  of  1812,"  by  Mr.  Nor- 
man Gurd,  Sarnia,  Ont.  Annual  Meeting,  Reports,  and 
Election  of  Officers. 

BY   CL.   T.    CAMPBELL,   M.D. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  last  century  the  capital  or  judi- 
cial seat  of  the  London  District  was  Vittoria,  in  the  County 
of  Norfolk.  This  was  quite  proper  at  that  time,  for  the 
bulk  of  the  population  of  Southwestern  Ontario  centred 
round  Long  Point.  With  the  trend  of  emigration  westward, 
however,  Vittoria  was  getting  to  be  on  the  outskirts  of  the 
district,  and  the  people  wanted  their  courts  held  in  a  more 
central  place.  Ijuckily,  the  court  house  was  destroyed  by 
lire  in  1825,  and  that  gave  opportunity  for  a  removal. 

Col.  Talbot  naturally  wanted  St.  Thomas  chosen;  and 
a  site  was  even  selected  for  the  building,  near  the  present 
court  house.  Delaware  also  had  aspirations,  and  Mr. 
Tiffany  offered  a  site.  But  the  Government  selected  the 
plot  reserved  by  Col.  Simcoe  at  the  forks  of  the  Thames 
for  his  capital.  It  is  said  that  this  was  largely  due  to 
the  influence  of  Col.  Burwell.  He  had  been  defeated  in  an 
election  for  Parliament  a  short  time  before,  and,  as  he  be- 
lieved, mainly  through  the  vote  of  people  on  the  Talbot 
road.  If  so,  he  not  only  gratified  his  revenge,  but  received 
a  job  as  surveyor  of  the  new  district  capital.  Others,  how- 
ever, helped  to  secure  the  public  buildings  for  "The  Forks." 
Capt.  Matthews,  of  Lobo,  father-in-law  of  Mr.  Goodhue, 
and  a  member  of  the  Legislature;  Squires  Schofield,  Inger- 
soll,  Teeple,  Homer  and  Springer,  all  used  their  influence, 
and   with  success. 

As  soon  as  the  act  was  passed  authorizing  the  building 
of  the  court  house,  enterprising  people  began  to  turn  their 
thoughts  towards  the  new  settlement.  The  first  man  to 
make  a  move  in  this  direction  was  Peter  McGregor,  a  High- 
land Scotchman,  who  had  been  keeping  a  little  tavern  and 
store  near  Springbank.  In  1826  he  took  up  lot  21,  south 
side  of  King  and  the  corner  of  Ridout,  and  commenced  to 
build  a  hotel.  In  this  he  was  assisted  by  Samueli  Wood, 
from  Long  Point;  and  these  two  were  the  first  settlers  in 
London.  They  were  followed  very  shortly  by  John  Yerex 
and    his   brother   Abraham,    carpenters,    who    located    on   the 


north-west  corner  of  York  and  Ridout  ;  and  it  was  in  their 
house  subsequently  the  first  child  was  born  in  London- 
Nathaniel  Yerex. 

McGregor's  hotel  was  only  a  log  shanty,  and  the  ac- 
commodation for  travellers  consisted  of  little  more  than  a 
jug  of  whiskey  on  a  stump  at  the  door.  He  improved 
things  later,  however;  for  Mrs.  McGregor  (formerly  a  Miss 
Poole,  of  Westminster)  was  an  energetic  helpmate,  and 
doubtless  encouraged  her  husband.  Yet  it  was  altogether 
inadequate  to  meet  the  demands  on  extra  occasions;  and 
when  the  first  court  was  held  visitors  had  to  go  out  to 
Joseph  Flannigan's,   some  three  miles  south,   to  get  a  bed. 

But  the  hotel  accommodations  of  London  were  soon 
ample.  Abraham  Carroll,  from  Oxford  County,  put  up  a 
respectable  hostelry,  the  Mansion  House,  on  the  north  side 
of  Dundas,  east  of"  Ridout,  in  1828.  A  year  or  two  later, 
however,  he  disposed  of  it;  and  it  passed  into  the  hands, 
first,  of  R.  Traverse;  then  J.  O'Dell,  and  finally  John  O'Neil, 
under  whose  management  it  was  for  a  long  time  the  prin- 
cipal tavern  in  London.  O'Neil  seems  to  have  come  to 
London  from  Norfolk  County  as  a  deputy  court  crier  and 
constable,  about  1830  ;  he  was  created  a  J.  P.  in  1833,  and 
was  a  prominent  citizen  and  a  leader  of  the  Orangemen.  In 
1830  McGregor  built  a  better  hotel  where  the  Robinson  Hall 
building  now  stands.  It  was  a  frame  building,  subsequently 
operated  by  H.  B.  Lee  ;  it  was  afterwards  destroyed  by  fire. 
McGregor  moved  later  to  North  Street,  where  he  died. 

But  man  could  not  live  by  whiskey  alone,  even  in  those 
bibulous  days  ;  and  the  wants  of  the  early  settlers  had  to 
be  met  by  the  general  store.  Merchants  of  various  kinds 
followed  close  on  the  heels  of  Peter  McGregor.  Among  those 
were  Dennis  O'Brien,  G.  J.  Goodhue,  Patrick  McMannis, 
Chas.  Henry,  and  others.  Of  these,  O'Brien  and  Goodhue 
were  the  principal  men.  The  former,  with  McMannis  and 
Henry,  was  an  itinerant  merchant;  while  Goodhue  had  been 
running  a  store,  distillery  and  ashery  near  Byron,  and 
moved  into  London   in   1829. 

As  these  were  not  only  among  the  earliest  set- 
tlers, but  became  notable  men  in  London,  a  little 
place  may  be  given  to  them  here.  O'Brien  was  born  in 
Fermoy,  Ireland,  in  1792;  came  to  America  in  1811,  set- 
tling first  in  Maine.  He  moved  to  Canada  in  1820,  and 
travelled  with  his  merchandise  through  the  London  district 
for  several  years,   finally  locating  in  London   in  1827.     Here 


he  took  up  lot  13,  south  side  of  Dundas,  east  of  Ridout. 
Goodhue  was  born  in  the  State  of  Vermont,  but  in  1822 
came  to  St.  Thomas,  where  he  was  for  some  time  clerk  for 
his  elder  brother.  Dr.  Jos.  Goodhue,  a  merchant.  Subse- 
quently he  started  in  business  in  Westminster,  but  moved 
into  London  in  1829,  locating  in  lot  20,  north-east  corner 
of   Dundas   and   Ridout   Streets. 

Both  men  prospered.  O'Brien  built  the  first  brick  block 
on  Dundas  Street,  west  of  Ridout,  and  rented  it  to  the 
Government,  before  it  was  completed,  for  the  use  of  the  sol- 
diers who  were  stationed  in  London  in  1838.  During  tha 
rebellion  he  seemed  to  keep  on  good  terms  with  both  par- 
ties, and  held  several  lucrative  contracts  for  conveying 
goods  and  material  for  the  military  authorities.  Goodhue 
also  dabbled  in  other  things  besides  his  general  store.  He 
kept  an  ashery  on  Dundas  Street,  west  of  the  present  -City 
Hotel,  where  the  farmers  dumped  the  as'Res  they  obtained 
from  burning  the  forests  they  had  cleared,  getting  their  pay 
in  store  goods.  And  here  the  ashes  were  converted,  by 
leaching,  into  "  black  salts,"  an  important  article  of  com- 
merce in  those  days.  He  also  bought  and  sold  lands, 
loaned  money  on  notes  and  mortgages,  acted  as  magistrate, 
and  became  a  member  of  the  Upper  House  of  Parliament  in 
pre-confederation  days.  The  only  public  recognition  of 
O'Brien's  labors  in  London  was  his  appointment  as  J.  P. 
in   1858. 

They  were  both  active,  energetic  men,  but  of  very  differ- 
ent types.  O'Brien,  medium  height,  thick-set  and  sturdy 
in  appearance,  vivacious,  good  natured,  as  only  an  Irishman 
can  be.  A  devoted  Catholic,  he  took  the  lead  in  every- 
thing connected  with  his  church.  At  the  same  time,  he 
took  all  the  enjoyment  out  of  life  that  he  could  get.  Some- 
times his  good  nature  was  abused,  as  is  shown  by  a  letter 
I  have  seen,  sent  to  him  on  Christmas  morning  of  1835,  in 
which  two  of  his  fellow  citizens  make  most  abject  apologies 
for  having  created  a  disturbance  at  his  house  the  night  be- 
fore. Evidently  the  refreshments  had  been  supplied  with  a 
too  lavish  hand  at  the  Christmas  Eve  party. 

Goodhue,  as  I  remember  him,  .was  less  stoutly  built  and 
taller,  with  a  calm,  cold  eye,  and  a  countenance  not  much 
given  to  smiles — a  business  man,  with  little  thought  for 
anything  else.  His  second  wife,  who  survived  him,  was  a 
daughter  of  Capt.  Matthews,  of  Lobo  ;  but  his  politics  were 
different  from  those  of  his  father-in-law,  for  he  was  a  stead- 
fast supporter  of  the  Family  Compact.      This  was  the  more 


notable  as  he  belonged  to  a  family  of  United  States  immi- 
grants who  were  political  radicals— his  relatives,  Bigelow 
and  Dr.  Goodhue,  of  St.  Thomas,  both  attaining  some 
notoriety  in  this  character.  He  died  worth  nearly  half  a 
million— probably  one  of  the  wealthiest  men  of  Southern 
Ontario  at  the  time.  O'Brien  made  plenty  of  money  also, 
but   it  did  not   stick  so  closely  to  his  fingers. 

Another  early  settler  was  Henry  Davis,  who  came  from 
New  York  in  1827,  and  in  1831  commenced  business  as  a 
watchmaker  or  jeweler  on  the  east  side  of  Ridout,  near 
York.  This  was  continued  for  many  ;^ears  by  him,  and  later  by 
his  son  William,  though  the  location  was  changed  to  Dun- 
das    Street. 

Andrew  McCormick,  from  County  Down,  Ireland,  took 
up  lot  19,  north  side  of  York,  east  of  Ridout,  in  1829, 
first  working  at  his  trade  as  a  plasterer,  but  subsequently 
becoming  a  merchant  and  a  prominent  citizen.  His  son, 
Andrew,  was  mayor  of  London,  and  his  granddaughter  is  a 
worthy   officer   of  the  London   Historical   Society. 

Major  Ira  Schofield  was  a  magistrate,  who  had  a  dis- 
tillery down  the  river.  (Nearly  all  the  early  settlers  seemed 
to  make  whiskey  as  well  as  drink  it.)  He  afterwards  took 
up  some  land  east  of  the  forks,  where  the  Sacred  Heart 
Academy  is  now.  The  first  post  office  in  the  vicinity  of 
London  was  opened  in  Lawrason's  store,  a  few  miles  west, 
in  1825;  but  when  the  court  came  to  London  the  post  office 
was  moved  to  Schofield's  log  house  in  1827,  and  the  Major 
became  postmaster — a  position  which  he  held  until  the  office 
was  again  moved  to  a  more  convenient  place,  in  Goodhue's 
store,  in  1829,  and  given  into  his  charge.  Major  Schofield 
sold  his  place  to  L.  Lawrason  and  moved  down  to  North 
Street,  near  Richmond,  where  he  died  shortly  after. 

Others  to  be  briefly  mentioned  were  John  Kent,  an 
Englishman,  who  came  to  Canada  in  1823,  and  bought  a 
farm  which  extended  on  both  sides  of  the  river,  from  Rich- 
mond Street  west,  though  his  residence  was  on  the  west 
side  ;  Thomas  Waters,  a  U.  E.  Loyalist,  from  New  Bruns- 
wick, who  came  to  Westminster  in  1820,  and  was  the  first 
owner  of  the  Pond  Mills,  subsequently  taking  up  land  along 
Carling's  Creek,  where  Waters'  mill  (near  the  present  site 
of  Carling's  Brewery)  was  for  some  years  a  landmark  ;  Levi 
Merrick,  who  built  the  first  bridge  at  the  foot  of  York 
Street,  in  1826  ;  Ben  Higgins,  who  came  from  Ireland  in 
1828,   first  farming   a   10-acre   field  near  Blackfriars'   bridge. 


and  later  running  a  hotel  on  the  corner  of  Dundas  and 
Clarence  Streets  ;  and  Samuel  Laughton,  the  pioneer  black- 
smith,  located   on  Richmond   Street,   near  Bathurst. 

The  work  of  preparing  for  the  accommodation  of  the 
courts  commenced  in  1826,  as  soon  as  the  plot  was  sur- 
veyed. In  order  that  there  might  be  no  delay,  a  tempor- 
ary frame  building  was  erected  on  the  north-east  corner  of 
the  square,  and  in  this  the  first  court  of  quarter  sessions 
was  held,  on  January  9th,  1827— Col.  Ryerse  as  chairman. 
A  writer  in  The  Gore  Gazette,  Ancaster,  July  31st,  1827, 
describing  London,  which  he  had  just  visited,  states  that 
this  "was  a  building  erected  by  subscription,  and  eventually 
intended  for  the  district  schoolhouse." 

Garrett  Oakes,  of  Yarmouth,  in  his  pioneer  sketches, 
says  :  "This  building  was  constructed  of  flat  logs,  and  on 
the  ground  floor  was  a  log  partition,  to  separate  the  jail 
from  the  jailer's  room.  The  courtroom  above  was  reached 
by  a  stairs  from  the  outside.  As  soon  as  the  house  was 
roofed  William  Parke,  the  old  Vittoria  jailer,  removed  to 
London  to  assume  his  office  in  the  new  building,  and  I 
assisted  him  to  finish  the  courtroom  in  a  rough  manner." 
(Ermatinger's  Talbot   Regime,   page   123.) 

The  court  house  itself,  of  course,  required  more  time 
The  plan  was  drawn  by  a  Mr.  Edwards,  of  Toronto;  and 
out  of  compliment  to  Col.  Talbot,  its  exterior  was  designed 
in  imitation  of  Malahide  Castle,  his  birthplace.  The  front 
of  the  building  faced  the  west,  overlooking  the  river.  Mr. 
John  Ewert,  of  Toronto,  secured  the  contract.  He  never 
became  a  citizen  of  London,  though  he  was  a  property 
holder,  owning  lot  20,  on  Dundas  Street,  sold  afterwards 
to  J.  G.  Goodhue.  His  partner,  Thomas  Parke,  however, 
took  charge  of  the  work,  became  a  resident  and  a  prominent 
citizen,  living  at  first  within  the  limits,  but  subsequently 
moving  across  the  river  into  Westminster.  In  1833  he  was 
elected  to  Parliament  as  one  of  the  two  county  members, 
serving  two  terms,  during  the  latter  part  of  which  he  was 
a  member  of  the  executive  council,  with  the  office  of  Sur- 
veyor-General. Another  Toronto  man,  William  Hale,  came 
to  London  at  this  time,  and  manufactured  the  brick— suit- 
able clay  being  found  at  the  rear  of  the  present  Robinson 
Hall,  and  also  across  the  river,  on  land  subsequently  owned 
by  Walter  Nixon. 

Among  the  mechanics  who  were  drawn  to  the  new  set- 
tlement by  prospects  of  work  was  Robert   Carfras,  who  lived 


to  a  good  old  age,  which  he  finished  on  Carfrae  Street, 
London  South.  He  used  to  tell  that  when  crossing  over 
the  new  bridge  at  the  foot  of  York  Street,  plodding  along 
the  rough  road,  he  came  to  Yerex's  cottage,  and  asked, 
"How  far  is  it  to  London?"  "Why,  you  are  in  it,"  was 
the  answer. 

By  1829  the  court  house  was  completed,  and  the  tem- 
porary building  was  removed  to  the  south-west  corner  of 
the  lot,  where  it  became  the  grammar  school,  familiar  to 
the  old  residents  of  London,  many  of  whom  received  their 
education  within  its  walls.  It  is  now  used  as  a  store- 
house by  the   water  commissioners. 

The  court  house  had  a  very  stately  appearance  to  an 
outsider,  but  its  interior  arrangements  would  not  be  con- 
sidered either  convenient  or  sanitary,  from  a  modern  point 
of  view.  Of  course,  it  was  smaller  than  the  present  build- 
ing, which  was  enlarged  in  1878,  making  six  turrets  instead 
of  four.  There  was  no  separate  jail  at  first,  criminals  being 
locked  up  in  the  cell  underground.  The  interior  was  plain- 
ly furnished — the  only  notable  decoration  was  the  finely  ex- 
ecuted painting  of  the  coat-of-arms,  the  work  of  a  French 
artist  by  the  name   of  Lefebre. 

Both  the  temporary  and  permanent  court  house,  how- 
ever, saw  some  lively  scenes.  In  the  former  the  accommo- 
dation was  so  limited  that  the  jury  would  often  retire  to 
the  shade  of  a  neighboring  tree  to  pursue  their  delibera- 
tions. Many  of  the  cases  tried  were  of  a  comparatively 
trifling  nature — petty  larceny,  assault  and  civic  disputes  ; 
and  the  penalties  inflicted  were  fines,  imprisonment,  flog- 
ging, and  even  the  stocks,  though  these  latter  soon  fell  into 
disuse,  and  were  formally  consigned  to  the  mercies  of  the 
Thames  in  spring  flood  by  Constable  Henry  Groves,  on  the 
order  of  the  magistrates.  The  first  prisoner  is  said  to  have 
been  a  man  named  Reed,  who  wels  found  guilty  of  stealing 
his  neighbor's  axe,  and  who  served  his  term  of  imprison- 
ment by  being  chained  to  the  stump  of  a  tree  in  the  day- 
time, and  to  a  block  of  wood  in  an  imfinished  cell  at 

One  of  the  first  cases,  however,  was  a  charge  of  murder. 
Thomas  Pomeroy,  a  sheriff's  officer,  had  been  killed  by  a 
man  named  Burleigh.  The  murderer  was  promptly  cap- 
tured, tried,  sentenced  and  executed  in  three  days  after  his 
trial.       Quick     justice  ;     but     then    the     accommodation    for 


prisoners   was    limited.       And    perhaps    it   was    thought   well 
to  put  the  condemned   out   of  misery   as  soon  as   possible. 

The  starting  of  the  judicial  machinery  in  London  in  the 
twenties  rendered  it  advisable  for  the  officers  of  the  court 
to  make  this  city  their  home.  For  a  few  years  most  of 
them  continued  to  reside  at  Vittoria,  visiting  London  only 
when  required.  Sheriff  Rappalje  never  came.  He  used  to 
send  his  son  to  act  for  him  as  deputy.  There  was  no 
resident  sheriff  here  until  Norfolk  was  set  oft  as  a  separate 
district  in  1837,  and  James  Hamilton  was  appointed  to 

While  the  Chairman  of  the  Board  of  Quarter  Sessions 
frequently  acted  as  judge,  the  first  regular  appointee  for  the 
district  was  James  Mitchell.  He  was  not  a  lawyer,  but  a 
highly-educated  man,  who  came  out  from  Scotland  with  Dr. 
Strachan.  For  a  time  he  was  tutor  to  James  Hamilton's 
children  ;  was  afterwards  given  charge  of  the  district  gram- 
mar school  at  Vittoria,  and  finally  appointed  judge  in, 1819., 
He  made  a  very  eflicient  judge,  few  of  his  decisions  being 
overruled.  As  years  and  infirmities  increased,  Wm.  Young, 
an  English  lawyer,  from  Caradoc,  was  appointed  junior 
judge  ;  but  he,  dying  shortly  after,  Mr.  Williams,  an 
Englishman,  who  came  from  the  West  Indies,  took  his 
place.  Mitchell  remained  the  senior  judge  as  long  as  he 
lived  ;  but  he  was  for  some  years  utterly  unfit  for  any 
work,  owing  largely  to  the  reckless  habits,  characteristic 
of  so  many  of  our  pioneers.  He  died  in  1844,  at  his  home 
on  York  Street,  near  Ridout,  and  was  succeeded  by  Judge 

The  clerk  of  the  court  was  Col.  J.  B.  Askin.  He  was 
born  in  Detroit,  of  mixed  Irish  and  Indian  blood,  and  was 
appointed  to  ofiice  while  the  court  was  being  held  at  Vit- 
toria. He  is  said  not  to  have  been  the  most  agreeable 
man  to  deal  with.  The  characteristics  of  the  two  races 
which  met  in  him  seemed  to  counteract  each  other.  The 
volatile  nature  of  the  Celt  had  to  contend  with  the  serious- 
ness and  impassivity  of  the  Indian.  AVhile  he  was  active 
to  the  extent  of  fussiness,  the  cold  indifference  of  the 
aborigine  modified  the  levity  of  the  Irishman.  He  took 
everything  seriously,  and  got  excited  over  it.  He  could 
not  imderstand  a  joke;  and  that  was  probably  the  reason 
why,  during  the  rebellion,  the  young  men  used  to  play 
tricks  on  him.,  and  send  him  off  on  a  "wild  goose  chase" 
after    imaginary  rebels. 


The  treasurer  of  the  district  was  John  Harris,  an 
Englishman,  who  had  been  in  the  naval  service,  but  had 
retired  on  half  pay,  and  was  living  near  Long  Point.  A 
thorough  John  Bull,  afraid  of  nothing,  he  would  take  the 
most  extreme  measures  for  what  he  thought  was  right.  His 
wife  was  the  daughter  of  Col.  S.  Ryerse,  and  made  Eldon 
House  (built  in  1835)  the  social  center  of  London.  Sir 
James  Alexander,  in  1812,  said  there  was  no  society  in 
London,  oniy  three  or  four  families;  and  he  especially  eulo- 
gized the  hospitality  of  Eldon  House.  Mr.  Harris  took  a 
very  active  part  in  1837-38  in  support  of  the  Govern- 
ment, though  as  a  volunteer  without  any  official  position. 
His  connection  with  the  "CaroUne"  episode  is  to-day  known 
to  very  few  outside  of  the  family.  He  was  at  Niagara  at 
the  time  that  MacKenzie  and  his  United  States  sympathiz- 
ers were  utilizing  Na\'y  Island  as  a  base  of  supplies,  and 
conveying  men  and  munitions  to  it  in  the  Caroline.  His 
experience  as  a  naval  officer  showed  the  situation  favorable 
for  "cutting  out"  the  Caroline.  He  suggested  it  to  Col. 
McNab  ;  Capt.  Drew  was  called  in  consultation;  and  the 
attempt  was  decided  on.  Mr.  Harris  accompanied  the  ex- 
pedition, which  was  successful,  and  the  captvired  vessel  went 
over  the  falls  that  night.  On  account  of  Mr.  Harris'  posi- 
tion as  a  half-pay  officer,  it  was  deemed  inexpedient  to 
make  public  the  fact  that  he  was  on  active  duty,  and 
nothing  was  said  at  the  time  about  his  share  in  the  enter- 
prise. He  was  subsequently  treasurer  of  Middlesex,  and 
also   of  London  town,   and  died  at   his  home   in  1850. 

Col.  Mahlon  Burwell,  the  registrar  of  deeds,  was  born 
in  New  Jersey,  February  18th,  1783.  Educated  as  a  land 
surveyor,  he  came  when  a  young  man  to  Canada,  and 
through  Col.  Talbot's  influence  had  nearly  all  the  Govern- 
ment work  in  the  district.  He  was  appointed  registrar  in 
3  812,  was  a  member  of  Parliament  for  the  county  and  once 
for  London,  and  became  a  colonel  in  the  militia  during  the 
rebellion.  He  does  not  appear  to  have  seen  any  fighting, 
but  was  taken  from  a  sick  bed  during  a  Yankee  raid,  and 
held  prisoner  in  the  United  States  for  several  months.  He 
never  lived  in  London.  The  little  brick  building  on  the 
Southwold  town  line,  in  which  he  kept  the  registry  office, 
is,  I  think,  still  standing.  He  died  on  the  25th  of  Jan- 
uary,   1867. 

The  other  officers  were  Gideon  Bostwick,  court  crier  ; 
John  O'Neil,  deputy  crier  and  constable  ;  Samuel  Park, 
jailer,   and  Wm.   K.    Cornish,   deputy  clerk. 


Peter  Schram,  a  German,  came  to  Middlesex  in  1818, 
and  was  high  constable  for  the  county  under  Sheriff  Rap- 
pelje.  He  was  an  early  settler  in  I^ondon,  and  was  suc- 
ceeded in  office  by  Henry  Groves,  born  in  Sussex,  England, 
1806,  emigrating  to  Canada  in  1830,  and  settling  in  Lon- 
don in  1882.  Mr.  Groves  had  a  chair  factory  on  York 
Street,  west  of  Ridout.  He  subsequently  held  the  office  of 
court  crier  and   high  constable,   and  died   in  1887. 

As  some  compensation  for  the  enforced  removal  of  the 
court  officers  from  Vittoria,  they  received  grants  of  five 
acres  each  in  the  vicinity  of  London,  all  river  lots.  The 
Harris  lot  is  still  occupied  by  the  family.  Judge  Mitchell's 
was  further  north  ;  Burwell,  Askin  and  Hamilton  located 
south   and   west   of  the   town. 

The  pioneer  lawyer  who  practiced  in  London  was  John 
Tenbroeck,  who  moved  here  from  Vittoria.  He  was  of  a 
U.  E.  L.  family — Captain  Jacob  Tenbroeck  having  fought 
for  the  mother  land  in  the  American  revolution,  and  re- 
ceiving a  grant  of  300  acres  in  Grantham  Township,  where 
his  great-grandson  died  this  year.  John  was  a  man  of 
marked  ability,  marred  only  by  the  common  failing  of  his 
contemporaries,  which  apparently  rendered  his  financial 
dealings  sometin\es  unsatisfactory  to  his  creditors.  In 
those  days,  in  civil  cases,  the  judge  received  a  fee  of  one 
dollar,  and  the  jury  one  dollar  and  fifty  cents — a  York 
shilling  apiece.  It  is  said  that  when  Tenbroeck  had  charge 
of  a  case  the  jury  would  not  bring  in  a  verdict,  nor  the 
court  pronounce  judgment,   until   the  money   was   paid. 

Other  pioneer  lawyers  were  Nelon  Stuart  (noted  princi- 
pally for  his  duel  with  an  officer  of  the  22nd  in  later 
tiays)  ;  Stewart  Jones,  one  of  a  prominent  Brockville  fam- 
ily of  that  name  ;  and  W.  K.  Cornish,  father  of  Mayor 
Frank   Cornish. 

London  in  1830  may  be  described  by  a  quotation  from 
a  book  entitled  "The  Canadas,"  published  by  Andrew 
Picken,  in  England,  1832,  compiled  chiefly  from  notes  by 
John  Gait,  the  Canada  Company's  general  manager.  He 
says  :  "The  town  is  quite  new,  not  containing  above  40  or 
50  houses,  all  of  bright  boards  and  shingles.  The  streets 
and  gardens  are  fuli  of  black  stumps."  At  this  time  the 
population  did  not  exceed  200,   but   was  rapidly    increasing. 

Perhaps  one  of  the  most  prominent  arrivals  after  the 
court    house    was   built    was    John    Scatcherd,    from    Wyton, 


England  ;  a  tall,  burly  man,  who  came  to  Nissouri  in  1820, 
but  removed  to  London  in  1830.  He  opened  a  store  on 
the  north  side  of  Dundas  Street,  east  of  Ridout,  and  was 
the  first  merchant  to  sell  hardware.  After  1835  he  re- 
turned to  Nissouri,  became  warden  of  the  county  and  a 
member  of  Parliament.  His  son,  Thomas,  became  a  lead- 
ing citizen  of  London,  a  lawyer,  and  member  for  North 

Scatcherd's  brother-in-law,  James  Farley,  an  Irishman 
from  Armagh,  came  to  London  with  him  as  a  partner  in 
his  business.  He  continued  the  business  when  Scatcherd 
left,  removing  the  store,  after  a  time,  to  the  south  side  of 
Dundas,  east  of  Clarence,  about  where  Bennett's  Theatre 
stands  ;  was  on  the  school  board  and  the  village  council  ; 
studied  law  with  his  nephew,  Thomas,  and  was  appointed 
clerk  of  the  peace  for  the  new  County  of  Elgin.  He  died 
in    St.   Thomas   in   1875. 

Another  Irishman,  Samuel  Glass,  came  to  Westminster 
in  1819,  and  settled  in  London  in  1831  as  a  dealer  in  flour 
and  grain.  Two  of  his  sons  became  noted  citizens;  David, 
member  of  Parliament  for  East  Middlesex,  and  William, 

Lawrence  Lawrason  was  born  at  Ancaster,  August  10, 
1803.  His  father  was  a  U.  E.  Loyalist  from  New  Jersey. 
At  first  clerking  in  the  store  of  James  Hamilton  (after- 
wards sheriff  of  Middlesex),  he  subsequently  removed  with 
his  father's  family  westward,  and  opened  a  store  at  Hall's 
Mills,  and  there  a  post  office  was  opened.  In  1832  he  came 
to  London  and  joined  Mr.  Goodhue  in  business.  He  was 
ii,n  active  supporter  of  the  Family  Compact,  an  officer  of 
the  local  militia,  a  well-known  magistrate,  and  for  a  coupie 
of  years  member  of  Parliament.  In  1847  he  built  for  a 
residence  a  large  brick  house,  which  nov.'  forms  the  nucleus 
of  the  Sacred  Heart  Academy.  He  became  very  wealthy, 
but  subsequently  lost  the  greater  part  of  his  property.  He 
was  appointed  the  first  police  magistrate  of  London  in 
1865,  an  office  which  he  held  until  his  death,  August  14th, 
1882.  His  wife  was  a  daughter  of  William  H.  Lee.  One 
surviving   child    is   Mrs.    E.    Baynes   Reid,    of   Victoria,    B.C. 

Joseph  Webster,  who  came  in  1831,  was  the  first  man 
to  open  a  tailor  shop.  For  many  years  he  carried  on  a 
business,  which  became  quite  extensive,  about  where  the 
Parisian   Laundry   now   is   on   Dundas. 


Donald  McPherson,  a  Scotch  farmer  from  Adelaide,  set- 
tled himself  in  London  in  1832,  building  a  house  on  Ridout 
Street.  His  daughter,  the  widow  of  Mr.  Gunn,  is  still 
living  here. 

In  the  earliest  days  of  London  there  were  no  regular 
religious  services  here.  Rev.  James  Campian,  of  Niagara, 
celebrated  mass  in  Dennis  O'Brien's  house  in  1827 — probably 
the  first  clergyman  to  visit  the  settlement — while  Rev.  E. 
Boswell,  of  the  Church  of  England  in  St.  Thomas,  held 
service  here   in  1829. 

In  1832  a  number  of  discharged  British  soldiers  were 
sent  out  to  Adelaide  Township.  With  them  came  some 
Irish  gentlemen  and  their  families— the  Cursons,  Blakes, 
Radcliffes,  and  others.  In  November  of  that  year  Rev. 
Benjamin  Cron;yTi  came  from  Ireland  with  his  wife  and  two 
children.  Their  destination  was  Adelaide  Township.  But 
wearied  with  the  long,  rough  ride,  they  stopped  in  London 
to  rest  at  the  Mansion  House.  On  the  Sunday  he  held 
service,  and  on  Monday  a  deputation  of  church  adherents 
urged  him  to  remain,  and  he  consented.  Lots  21  and  22, 
on  Dundas  Street,  being  the  north-west  corner  of  Ridout 
and  the  adjacent  lot,  had  been  set  apart  for  the  use  of  the 
Anglican  Church  in  the  name  of  Bishop  Stewart,  and  were 
being  used  as  a  burial  ground,  but  services  were  held  in  the 
schoolhouse  and  elsewhere.  It  is  said  that  steps  were 
taken  towards  building  a  church  here,  but  it  was  finally 
decided  to  go  eastward,  and  the  present  site  of  St.  Paul's 
was   secured. 

London  Township  had  been  made  a  circuit  of  the  Wes- 
leyan  Methodist  Church  in  1823,  with  Robt.  Carson  in 
charge.  Itinerant  preachers  of  this  body  visited  London 
as  soon  as  there  were  any  people  here;  and  in  1833  a  meet- 
ing-house was  erected,  a  rough-cast  building,  on  the  south- 
west corner  of  Ridout  and  Car  ling   Streets. 

Though  the  population  at  this  time  would  appear  to 
have  been  too  small  to  support  a  newspaper,  yet  an  at- 
tempt at  journalism  was  made  in  1831  by  E.  A.  Talbot. 
This  gentleman  was  a  son  of  Richard  Talbot,  who  settled 
in  London  Township  in  1818  with  an  Irish  colony.  He 
was  a  well-educated  young  man,  who  had  written  a  book 
on  Canada  in  1824.  "The  London  Sun."  as  he  called  his 
paper,  shone  for  a  couple  of  years,  and  then  went  down  in 
darkness.  After  this  failure,  Talbot  removed  to  Niagara, 
and  issued  a  paper  there,   but  he  did  not   succeed.       About 


1838  he  returned  to  London,  in  poor  health,  and  poorer 
finances,  with  a  large  familj^  to  support.  His  Orange 
cronies— John  O'Neil  and  others — helped  him  all  they  could; 
and  in  1839  he  tried  journalism  again,  with  the  Freeman's 
Journal.  But  ill-fortime  still  attended  him;  his  last  ven- 
ture failed,  -  and  he  did  not   live  long   after   it. 

Freeman  Talbot,  a  member  of  the  same  family,  came  in- 
to London  as  a  very  young  lad,  and  has  .stated  that  he 
was  engaged  as  a  surveyor  when  the  ground  was  being 
chained  for  the  court  house.  He  was  well  known  in  the 
early  days;  and  died  only  a  short  time  ago  in  Strathcarol, 

But  while  London  was  getting  some  valuable  additions 
to  its  population  about  this  time,  there  were  also  some  of 
an  inferior  character.  Among  the  large  number  of  emi- 
grants coming  into  Canada  from  Britain  some  were  of  the 
poorer  classes,  who  came  out  imder  very  unsanitary  condi- 
tions. As  a  result,  epidemic  diseases  made  their  appear- 
ance in  the  summer  of  1832  ;  and  London  received  its  first 
serious   setback. 

The  village  was  ill  fitted  to  meet  such  a  foe.  Appa- 
rently it  was  in  a  very  healthy  situation.  The  court  house 
and  surrounding  buildings  were  grouped  together  on  the 
verge  of  a  lofty  plateau.  Dundas  Street,  instead  of  slop- 
ing to  the  river  as  it  now  does,  ended  abruptly  at  the  top 
of  a  high  hill.  Theoretically  no  better  location  could  be 
desired.  If  Governor  Simcoe  had  been  able  this  year  to 
repeat  his  visit  from  Detroit  to  London  he  would  have  been 
charmed  with  the  sight.  Coming  up  the  river  towards  the 
forks,  Malahide  Castle,  with  its  towers  and  turrets,  clearly 
outlined  against  the  summer  sky,  with  the  smaller  houses 
grouped  beneath  the  shelter  of  its  walls;  the  clank  of  anvil 
and  the  thud  of  axe;  the  lowing  of  cattle  and  the  hum  of 
busy  men  in  the  market  on  the  bluff,  would  have  made  him 
think  his  early  visions  had  materialized,  and  that  the  capi- 
tal of  his  Province  was  outstretched  before  him. 

But — and  there  is  always  a  but — the  conditions  were 
most  unsanitary.  There  was  no  provision  for  drainage. 
The  streets  were  of  the  most  primitive  description,  without 
even  ditches  to  carry  off  surplus  water.  There  was  a 
swamp  on  Richmond  Street,  between  Queen's  Avenue  and 
Dundas.  On  the  flats  on  the  west  and  south-west  boimda- 
ries  of  the  village  mud  puddles  gave  off  poisonous  efluvia. 
Carling's    Creek,    as    we    now    call    it,    was    a    stream    large 


enough  to  run  Waters'  mill  at  its  mouth;  but  a  big  mill 
pond  reached  from  Richmond  Street  west  to  Talipot,  and 
in  the  summer  drouths  was  very  unhealthy,  as  these  ponds 
usually  are.  A  smaller  and  more  sluggish  stream  ran  be- 
tween York  and  Bathurst.  The  v/ells  were  open,  protected 
only  by  a  curbing,  the  water  being  drawn  by  the  old  oaken 
bucket;  while  pigpens,  cow  sheds  and  other  unsanitary  con- 
cerns were  usually  near  enough  to  let  their  sewage  filter 
through   the   soil   and  contaminate  the   water. 

So  far  as  medical  assistance  was  concerned,  there  was 
probably  enough.  Archibald  Chisholm  was  the  first  physi- 
cian in  London.  I  have  been  unable  to  learn  much  of  him, 
except  that  he  was  a  young  man,  born  near  St.  Thomas 
in  1795,  and  died  in  London  on  September  20th,  1830. 
His  son  Hiram  was  in  business  here  for  some  years  with 
L.  Lawrason.  More  is  known  of  Dr.  Elam  Stimson,  who 
came  from  the  United  States  in  1823,  and  took  up  his 
abode  in  London  in  1828.  He  must  have  been  here  near- 
ly as  early  as  Dr.  Chisholm.  A  tall  man  of  fine  presence, 
good  education  and  great  mental  ability,  he  would  have 
been  one  of  London's  leading  citizens  had  he  remained.  But 
he  lost  his  wife  and  younger  child  by  cholera,  and  in  1833 
he  left  the  scene  of  his  unpleasant  experience  and  removed 
to    St.    George,    where   he   died   in   1869. 

Col.  Talbot,  writing  to  his  friend,  Mr.  Robinson,  on  the 
8th  July,  1832,  says  :  "The  weather  last  week  has  been 
very  hot,  and  I  am  sorry  to  say  that  a  few  persons  have 
died  after  a  few  hours'  sickness,  which  the  quacks  pro- 
nounce as  cholera."  Doubtless  he  was  thinking  of  Dr. 
Stimson,  who,  coming  from  the  United  States,  would  cer- 
tainly be  a  quack  in  his  eyes.  However,  he  had  hopes  for 
the  future,  because  he  says  :  "Within  the  last  week  I  have 
had  an  addition  of  two  regular-bred  physicians — Dr.  Don- 
nelly, of  the  navy,  and  Dr.  Rolls,  a  very  gentlemanly  young 
man,  who  practiced  in   Old  London  for  some  years." 

The  quacks  were  right  ;  there  was  no  doubt  the  disease 
was  cholera,  and  Dr.  Donnelly  himself  fell  a  victim.  I  do 
not  think  Dr.  Rolls  came  to  London  ;  at  all  events,  we  find 
him  shortly  after  located  in  St.  Thomas.  Dr.  H.  D.  Lee 
came  to  London  about  this  time;  was  appointed  Govern- 
ment medicai  officer  in  1833;  became  a  leading  citizen,  and 
died  of  typhus  in  1847 — taking  the  infection  while  looking 
after  emigrants. 

The  cholera,  as  I  have  said,  spread  all  over  the  country 
this  summer.       In  London  many  were  attacked  and  a  num- 


ber  died— how  many  it  is  impossible  to  say,  as  there  was 
no  system  of  registration  in  those  days.  But  it  was  a 
serious  time,  for  the  pest  only  subsided  as  the  high  sum- 
mer  temperature    went   down   with   the   approach   of   winter. 

The  outbreak  of  the  cholera,  however,  did  not  stop  the 
influx  of  settlers  in  London.  During  the  next  two  years 
valuable  additions  were  made  to  the  Forest  Town.  It 
would  be  impossible  to  mention  all  ;  the  names  of  many 
have  been  long  forgotten  and  records  of  their  lives  have 
long  since  vanished.  With  some,  however,  we  are  more 
familiar,    and   a   brief  reference   to   these  may  be   given. 

John  Jennings  was  a  peripatetic  merchant,  who  sold 
goods  around  the  coimtry  ;,  he  practically  settled  in  London 
about  1832  or  a  little  later.  He  had  a  distillery  across 
the  river  from  the  Eldon  House;  a  store  near  the  corner  of 
Dundas  and  Ridout,  and  kept  a  livery  stable  as  well.  He 
was  a  useful  all-round  citizen,  and  occupied  important  posi- 
tions  in  later  years. 

Ed.  Raymond  was  born  in  Buffalo,  and  settled  here  in 
1832,  and  began  business  as  a  furrier  in  1833.  Mrs.  Ray- 
mond, the  daughter  of  Mr.  Durante  a  Congregational  min- 
ister, was  for  many  years  principal  music  teacher  and 
organist  in  town. 

Geo.  Watson,  an  Englislunan,  builder  by  trade,  came  in 
1833;  lived  for  many  years  on  King  Street,  about  the  pres- 
ent  No.    155,   and   died   only   a  few  years  ago. 

The  year  1834  saw  a  large  number  of  new  arrivals  ; 
among  them  were  the  following  : 

Henry  Beltz,  a  native  of , the  United  States,  was  a  bridge 
builder,  and  in  partnership  with  one  McPherson,  had  charge 
of  nearly  all  of  that  kind  of  work  after  his  arrival.  His 
son,  Edmund,  learned  the  trade  of  furrier  with  Raymond  ; 
began  business  in  1850,  and  held  it  until  he  died  a  few 
months   ago. 

J.  W.  Van  Wormer,  from  the  States,  a  turner  by  trade  ; 
his  wife,  a  daughter  of  Jailor  Parke,  was  drowned  while 
driving  through  the  river  at  the  foot   of  Ridout   Street. 

Leonard  Perrin,  also  from  across  the  border,  originally 
a  blacksmith,  but  became  a  baker,  having  his  shop  on  Dun- 
das Street,  near  the  north-west  corner  of  Talbot;  had  the 
contract    for    supplying    troops    with    bread    in    later   years, 


and    thus    paved  the    way     for     one   of   the   leading    business 
concerns   of  our   city   to-day. 

As  the  people  began  to  increase  in  number,  they  gave 
evidence  of  energy  and  enterprise  that  their  descendants 
have  not  equalled.  They  started  to  build  a  railroad.  Even 
though  they  did  not  succeed  at  the  time,  it  only  showed 
that  they  had   more  courage  than  money. 

The  first  railroad  corporation  in  Canada  seems  to  have 
been  the  Champlain  and  St.  I^awrence  Railroad  Company, 
chartered  in  1832 — only  a  few  years  after  the  first  loco- 
motive was  constructed  in  England  by  Stevenson.  The 
object  of  the  road  seems  to  have  been  to  connect  Montreal 
with  the  nearest  navigable  water  to  New  York;  and  in  1836 
it  commenced  operations,  running  from  St.  John,  near 
Montreal,  to  Laprairie.  It  was  a  wooden  road,  and  oper- 
ated by  horse-power.  It  was  the  first  link  in  the  chain 
that  afterwards   became  the   Grand  Trunk  Railway. 

London  was  a  small  place  compared  with  Montreal,  but 
it  was  going  to  have  its  railroad  if  it  could.  On  March 
6th,  1834,  a  company,  called  the  London  and  Gore  Rail- 
road, was  chartered  by  the  Legislature  of  Upper  Canada 
(4  Wm.  IV.,  Chap.  29).  The  following  persons  were  the 
incorporators  :  Edward  Allan  Talbot,  Thomas  Parke. 
George  J.  Goodhue,  Allan  Napier  McNab,  Colin  Campbell 
Ferrie,  John  McFarlane,  Wm.  Robertson,  Thomas  Gibbens, 
Lawrence  Lawrason,  Dennis  O'Brien,  John  Scatcherd,  Jas. 
Hamilton,  Joseph  Cowley,  Nicholas  Gaffeny,  Joseph  L. 
O'Dell,  John  O'Neil,  James  Farley,  John  Jennings,  Harvey 
Shepherd,  John  Kent,  Albert  S.  O'Dell,  Henry  Shennick. 
Hiram  D.  Lee,  William  E.  Lee,  Burley  Hunt,  Nathan  Grif- 
fith, Andrew  Drew,  Robert  Alway,  Peter  Carroll,  Charles 
Duncombe,  Thomas  Horner,  Oliver  Turner,  E.  A.  Spalding, 
Geo.  W.  Whitehead,  Peter  Bamberger,  Manuel  Over  filed, 
James  McFarlane,  James  Bell  Ewart,  Thomas  J.  Horner, 
Joseph  Grier,  G.  W.  Bremyer,  Nathan  Jacobs,  Charles 
Goulding,  Thomas  D.  Howard,  Thomas  J.  Jones,  James 
Ingersoll,  John  Young,  John  Wier,  A.  McDonnell,  William 
Bull  Sheldon,  Ebenezer  Stinson,  Samuel  Mills,  Peter  Hun- 
ter Hamilton,  Abraham  K.  Smith,  Joseph  Holestone,  Thos. 
Taylor,  Henry  Carrol,  Calvin  Martin,  James  Ritchie,  E. 
Jackson,  Jedediah  Jackson,  Welcome  Y^ale,  Luke  V.  Soper, 
Ira  Schofield,  Mahlon  Burwell,  Andrew  Miller,  David  Archi- 
bald McNab,  William  Notman,  Matthew  Crooks,  Oliver  Tif- 
fany,  Plumer  Burlej',   George  T.  Tiffany,   Edward  Vanderlip, 


Oliver   G.   Tiffany,   William   Case,   A.    Smith,    John  Law    and 
Miles   O'Reilly. 

More  than  half  of  these  people  came  from  London  and 
immediate  vicinity,  the  others  from  Hamilton  and  inter- 
mediate points.  The  Londoners,  however,  were  the  leaders 
in  the  movement.  The  company  received  authority  to  con- 
struct a  road  of  wood  or  iron,  commencing  at  London  and 
extending  first  to  Burlington  Bay,  and  then  westward  to 
the  navigable  waters  of  the  Thames  and  Lake  Huron.  It 
may  be  noted  that  early  railroads  were  looked  upon  simply 
as  portages  to  connect  navigable  waters.  All  the  first  roads 
chartered  in  Canada  were  of  this  description.  London  was 
made  the  headquarters,  and  the  first  meeting  was  appointed 
to  be  held  in  this  town  on  the  first  Monday  of  April,  1834, 
providing  £25,000  of  stock  had  been  subscribed.  If  not, 
then  a  special  meeting  was  to  be  called  whenever  that 
amount  was  subscribed.  The  limit  of  stock  was  fixed  at 
£100,000,  issued  in  3,000  shares  of  £12  10s.  each.  This 
amount  to  be  doubled  when  construction  from  London  com- 
menced westward. 

Government  ownership  of  railroads  was  evidently  looked 
upon  by  some  people  as  a  possibility,  for  by  clause  22  of 
this  act,  power  was  taken  for  the  Government  after  40 
years,  to  buy  out  the  company  at  20  per  cent,  premium, 
providing  the  road  had  been  paying  a  dividend  of  12  per 

The  promoters  of  this  company  found  some  difficulty  in 
getting  money,  and  the  preliminary  meeting  for  organiza- 
tion was  not  held  until  June,  1885,  when  a  number  of  the 
shareholders  met  at  "O'Neill's  Inn,"  or  the  Mansion  House, 
situated  on  Dundas  Street,  about  where  Perrin's  biscuit  fac- 
tory now  is.  Thomas  Cronyn  was  chairman,  and  AVm. 
Rol)inson,  secretary.  It  was  found  that  many  of  the  sub- 
scription lists  that  had  been  issued  were  not  in,  and  it  was 
impossible  to  tell  who  were  the  shareholders  to  any  great 
extent.  Those  present,  however,  proceeded  to  organize,  and 
elected  seven  directors,  the  understanding  being  that  several 
of  these  would  make  way  for  others,  so  that  the  board 
would  be  fairly  representative  of  the  different  localities  in 
which  other  shareholders  resided.  Difficulties  still  continu- 
ing in  the  way  of  obtaining  the  money,  the  directors  of  the 
company  approached  the  Legislature  again,  and  obtained  an 
amended  act  on  March  6th,  1837  (7  Wm.  IV.,  Chap.  61). 
This    act   changed   the   title    of    the    road    to    Great    Western 


Railroad  Company,  increased  the  stock  to  £500,000,  and 
made  provision  for  a  Government  loan  equal  to  three  times 
the  amount  subscribed — the  loan  not  to  commence  until 
£1,250  of  stock  had  been  taken  up,  and  the  maximum  of 
the   loan   not  to  exceed   £200,000. 

Authority  was  also  given  the  Canada  Company  to  con- 
nect Goderich  with  this  line.  The  Niagara  and  Detroit 
Rivers  Company  had  been  organized  a  short  time  before, 
and  it  was  also  given  authority  to  connect  with  the  Great 
Western.  In  order  to  protect  the  Government  in  its  loan, 
provision  was  taken  by  another  act  at  the  same  session 
(7  Wm.  IV.,  Chap.  62),  to  levy  a  tax  on  the  districts  of 
Gore,  London  and  Western,  in  order  to  make  up  any  deficit 
in  the  interest  on  the  debentures  issued  by  the  Government 
for  the  purpose  of  assisting  the  railway.  However,  with 
all  the  help  offered  by  the  Government,  this  enterprise 
seemed  to  have  been  too  big  a  scheme  for  the  promoters  to 
liandle.  The  money  was  not  forthcoming,  and  the  enter- 
prise lapsed. 

But  the  Gore  was  not  the  oniy  railway  enterprise  start- 
ed in  London  about  this  time.  A  man  named  Henry  Dalley 
introduced  a  scheme  for  a  road  from  London  to  Detroit. 
He  was  a  genial,  plausible  man,  a  type  of  the  class  of 
promoters.  He  interested  a  number  of  people,  especially 
in  the  country  districts;  collected  considerable  money;  and 
sent  out  surveying  parties.  Some  work  was  evidently  done, 
for  the  first  engineers  engaged  in  locating  the  Canada 
Southern  Railway  in  after  years,  found  the  marks  of  his 
surveys.  Whether  or  not  Dalley  really  intended  to  build 
the  railway,  is,  of  course,  uncertain.  But  the  enterprise 
fell  through,  with  disastrous  consequences  to  those  who  had 
trusted  him.  One  of  these  was  Wm.  Huggins,  a  West 
Indian  planter,  who  came  to  Yarmouth  in  1833,  but  re- 
jTioved  to  London  a  few  years  later.  He  brought  suit 
against  Dalley  and  got  judgment — but  no  money.  So  com- 
plete was  his  financial  loss  that  he  .worked  for  a  time  as  a 
laborer  at  the  building  of  the  Barracks;  he  failed  in  health, 
and,  after  a  long  illness,  died  in  1851.  Dalley  meanwhile 
went  to  New  York  and  made  a  fortune  in  seliing  patent 
medicines.  In  his  prosperity  .he  remembered  his  less  fortu- 
nate associates,  and  sent  Huggins  a  good  supply  of  Dal- 
ley's  salve. 

About  this  time  the  growing  importance  of  London  was 
recognized    by    the    Provincial    authorities,    and    it    was    con- 


stituted  an  electoral  division.  The  census  showed  the 
population  to  be  slightly  over  1,000.  Previously  it  had 
been  part  of  the  county,  which  returned  two  members.  The 
first  election  was  held  in  1836— candidates  being  Mahlon 
Burweli  and  Jno.  Scatchard.  Freeman  Talbot  is  my 
authority  for  saying  that  the  vote  was  a  tie — 37  for  each  ; 
the  returning  officer,  being  an  appointee  of  the  Government, 
did  his  duty  by  voting  for  the  Government  candidate.  The 
total  vote  cast  seems  very  small  to  us  ;  but  it  must  be  re- 
membered that  none  could  vote  but  property  holders  who 
had  their  patent  from  the  crown,  or  had  the  deeds  for  their 
land  duly  executed,  and  the  fee  for  a  crown  deed  was  £8. 
Great  numbers  of  the  early  settlers  simply  had  their  names 
entered  on  Col.  Talbot's  map,  and  while  this  secured  them 
their  lots,  it  did  not  give  them  a  clear  title  under  which 
they  could  vote.  It  was  evident,  however,  that  this  elec- 
tion was  closely  contested.  In  politics,  London  seems  to 
have  been  ready  to  put  up  a  good  fight  from  the  very  first 
day  it  got   the  chance. 

London  was  now  beginning  to  attract  attention.  Its 
people  had  shown  a  degree  of  public  spirit  in  railroad  mat- 
ters, greater  in  proportion  to  population  than  any  place  in 
Canada.  A  branch  of  the  Bank  of  Upper  Canada  was 
opened  in  1835,  on  the  corner  of  King  and  Ridout  Streets, 
with  Richard  Richardson,  manager.  Travellers  passing 
through  the  country  helped  to  advertise  the  town.  Some- 
times the  picture  drawn  by  the  visitor  was  not  very  flat- 
tering. Mrs.  Jamieson,  wife  of  the  Vice-Chancellor  of  the 
Province,  was  one  of  those  who  did  not  see  much  beauty 
in  the  little  village,  according  to  her  description  in  her 
"Summer  Rambles  and  Winter   Studies." 

In  1837  she  passed  through  this  section  on  a  visit  to 
Col.  Talbot,  and  remaining  over  a  day  at  the  hotel,  she 
took  a  walk  through  the  village.  She  says  :  "It  now 
contains  more  than  200  frame  or  brick  houses;  and  there 
are  inany  more  building.  The  court  house  seemed  the 
glory  of  the  townspeople.  As  for  the  style  of  architecture, 
I  may  not  attempt  to  describe  it,  but  a  gentleman  informed 
me,  in  rather  equivocal  phrase,  that  it  was  'somewhat 
Gothic'  There  are  five  places  of  w^orship  for  the  Episco- 
palian, Presbj'terian,  Methodist,  Roman  Catholic  and  Bap- 
tist. The  church  is  handsome.  There  are  also  three  or 
four  schools,  and  seven  taverns.  The  Thames  is  very 
beautiful  here;   and  navigable  for  boats   and   barges. 


"  The  population  consists  principally  of  artisans — and 
blacksmiths,  carpenters  and  buikiers  are  flourishing.  There 
is,  I  fear,  a  good  deal  of  drunkenness  and  profligacy  ;  for 
though  the  people  have  work  and  wealth,  they  have  neither 
education  nor  amusements.  Besides  the  seven  taverns, 
there  is  a  number  of  little  grocery  stores,  wTiich  are,  in 
fact,  drinking  houses.  And  though  a  law  exists  which  for- 
bids the  sale  of  spirituous  liquor  in  small  quantities  by  any 
but  licensed  publicans,  they  easily  contrive  to  evade  the 

"The  Government  should  be- more  careful  in  the  choice  of 
district  magistrates.  While  I  was  in  I^ondon  a  person  who 
had  acted  in  this  capacity  was  carried  from  the  pavement 
dead  drunk. 

"  I  find  the  women  in  the  better  class  lamenting  over 
the  want  of  all  society  except  in  the  lowest  grades,  in  man- 
ners and  morals.  For  those  who  have  recently  emigrated 
and  are  settled  in  the  interior,  there  is  absolutely  no  social 
intercourse  whatsoever." 

But  the  superficial  observations  of  this  versatile  and 
volatile  Irish  lady,  as  she  flitted  over  the  country,  are  not 
to  be  taken  too  seriously.  The  defects  that  she  noticed 
were  common  to  the  times,  and  were  no  worse  in  London 
than  in  Toronto.  No  doubt,  however,  there  was  some  jus- 
tice in  her  opinion  that  lack  of  legitimate  and  innocent 
amusements  seriously  affected  the  moral  tone  of  the  early 

During  the  years  1834  to  1839  there  were  some  notable 
additions  to  our  citizenship,  of  whom  a  few  may  be  men- 
tioned : 

Murray  Anderson  was  born  at  Lundy's  Lane,  the  ground 
on  which  the  battle  was  fought  having  been  the  property  of 
his  father.  l^earning  the  trade  of  a  tinsmith,  he  came  to 
London  in  1835,  and  lived  here  for  a  year  or  two,  then 
went  home  ;  but  he  returned  and  took  up  his  trade  and  be- 
came a  permanent  resident.  He  opened  a  tin  and  stove 
store  on  Dundas  Street,  about  where  Perrin's  factory  is, 
and  in  later  years  established  a  foundry  on  the  south-west 
corner  of  Dundas  and  Adelaide  Streets.  He  took  a  prom- 
inent part  in  public  affairs,  and  was  the  first  mayor  of 
the  Citv  of  London  in  1855.  He  died  here  March  5th, 


Wm.  Barker  came  here  from  Nottingham,  England,  in 
1835.  He  was  a  man  of  superior  education,  and  especially 
noted  as  a  student  of  astronomy.  He  had  charge  of  the 
business  of  General  Renwick,  who  owned  considerable  real 
estate  in  this  locality.  From  the  very  first  he  became  a 
leading  citizen,  and  was  for  many  years  a  member  of  vari- 
ous municipal  bodies.  He  built  Mount  Hope,  on  the  north 
end  of  Richmond  Street,  the  cupola  on  which  made  a  very 
good  observatory.  He  was  the  principal  organizer  of  our 
first  gas  company.  His  son  is  a  member  of  Parliament  for 

The  principal  lawyer  at  this  period  was  John  Wilson, 
born  in  Paisley,  Scotland,  in  1809.  He  came  to  Canada 
as  a  boy,  worked  on  a  farm  in  Lanark,  then  studied  law, 
and  in  1834  settled  in  London.  He  at  once  obtained  a 
lucrative  practice,  for  with  his  thorough  knowledge  of  law, 
he  possessed  a  shrewd  common  sense;  a  free  and  easy  oratory, 
and  a  warm  sympathy  for  the  vmfortunate.  His  office  was  a 
school  for  many  who  afterwards  became  prominent  lawyers. 

Among  these  was  H.  C.  R.  Becher,  who  came  here  in 
1886;  a  cultured  young  Englishman  of  good  family,  who  en- 
tered Wilson's  office  as  a  student,  and  when  he  left  it  to 
practice  his  profession  he  was  well  equipped  for  the  work. 
These  two  men  were  the  leaders  of  the  bar  in  London  for 
many  years. 

As  a  young  lad  I  had  occasion  to  see  them  frequently  in 
the  fifties.  They  were  men  in  marked  contrast.  Wilson 
was  burly,  with  coarse,  ruddy  features,  careless  in  dress, 
offhand  in  manner,  sometimes  rude  in  speech.  Becher  was 
tall  and  slim,  with  sallow  complexion,  gentlemanly  in  ap- 
pearance, smooth  spoken  and  courteous.  Both  were  prom- 
inent in  public  affairs,  but  with  imequal  success.  Wilson 
represented  London  in  Parliament,  where  he  took  a  very 
active  part,   and  finally  finished  his  career   on  the  bench. 

Becher  was  defeated  by  Morrill  when  he  ran  for  mayor, 
and  by  E.  Leonard  for  Parliament  ;  his  only  public  office 
was   a   seat   on   the  village  council. 

D.  J.  Hughes,  from  Devonshire,  England,  came  to  Mont- 
real in  1832,  where  his  father  died.  Adopted  by  a  friend 
of  the  family,  he  came  to  London  in  1835;  studied  law  in 
Joiin  Wilson's  office.  After  being  called  to  the  bar,  he 
moved  to  Woodstock  in  1842,  returning  to  London  in  1847, 
entering  into  partnership   with  Wilson,   who  had  married  his 


sister.  In  1853  he  was  appointed  first  county  judge  of 
Elgin;  held  that  office  for  50  years,  and  still  resides  in  St. 
Thomas,  at  the  advanced  age  of  90.  His  recollection  of 
men  and  things  in  the  early  days  has  been  of  material 
service  in  the  preparation  of  this  sketch. 

Capt.  John  Moore,  of  the  30th  Regiment,  retired  from 
service  and  took  up  his  residence  in  London,  near  the  site 
of  the  present  gas  house,  in  1834.  His  son,  Charles,  en- 
tered into  partnership  with  Richard  Smith  and  E.  S. 
Lyman,  as  general  merchants,  including  in  their  stock  a 
good  supply  of  drugs.  Possibly  this  latter  fact  may  have 
turned  his  attention  to  medicine,  for  when  Dr.  A.  Anderson 
settli?d  here  in  1837,  and  married  a  daughter  of  Capt. 
Moore,  Charles  entered  his  brother-in-law's  office,  and  after 
graduation  followed  his  profession  here  till  his  death,  leav- 
ing his  son   to   succeed   him. 

Dr.  Anderson  purchased  the  Goodhue  house,  near  the 
site  of  the  present  Sandringham  apartments.  He  subse- 
quently built  Walmington  house  across  the  street.  Here 
his   widow   still   lives. 

In  1835  a  young  English  chemist,  John  Salter,  was 
employed  in  Smith  &  Moore's  store  to  look  after  the  drug 
department,  but  two  years  later' he  commenced  business  for 
himself  as  a  druggist,  and  physician  opposite  the  court 
house.  Dr.  Salter  was  well  known  for  many  years;  he  was 
a  highly-educated  anan,  and  a  prominent  contributor  to  the 
local  press. 

James  Givens  commenced  practicing  law  in  St.  Thomas, 
but  in  1835  he  was  appointed  solicitor  for  the  Bank  of 
Upper  Canada,  and  removed  to  London,  and  became  prom- 
inent in  municipal  affairs  and  legal  circles.  He  built  the 
long  low  house  on  the  river  bank,  near  the  York  Street 
bridge,  which  is  still  standing.  He  was  subsequently  ap- 
pointed  county   judge. 

Alexander  Mackenzie,  born  in  Indiana,  of  Highland 
Scotch  parentage,  came  to  Canada  when  a  young  man, 
practicing  medicine  in  St.  Thomas  for  a  time.  When  a 
batallion  was  raised  in  London  in  1838,  he  was  appointed 
a  surgeon,  and  came  here,  where  he  resided  until  his 
death  a  few  years  ago. 

Simeon  Morrill  came  from  the  United  States  and  ob- 
tained three  lots  on  the  south-eastern  corner  of  York  and 
Hidout     Streets.       He     operated     a    large  tannery,   together 


with  the  manufacture  of  shoes.  He  was  the  first  employer 
of  labor  in  London  on  anything  like  an  extensive  scale, 
and  always  paid  his  wages  In  cash,  something  very  unusual 
in  those  days.  He  was  further  noted  as  the  pioneer  pro- 
hibitionist in  this  city.  But  though  temperance  was  not 
popular,  he  commanded  unusual  respect  from  the  people, 
and    was    repeatedly   elected   to   municipal    positions. 

John  Smythe,  from  England,  was  a  soldier  in  the  95th 
Kegiment.  and  fought  under  Wellington  at  Waterloo.  He 
came  to  London  in  1838,  and  was  first  a  merchant,  subse- 
quently opening  the  Waterloo  Hotel  on  Richmond  Street, 
for  many  years  a  local  landmark.  He  was  a  pioneer  in 
the  volunteer  movement,  and  was,  I  believe,  captain  of  the 
first  rifle  company  organized  in  the  district.  His  sons  have 
both  been  well  known  as  good  citizens  and  enthusiastic  mili- 
tary  men. 

Elijah  Leonard  was  born  in  Syracuse,  N.Y.,  September 
10th,  1814,  and  learned  the  iron-foundry  business  with  his 
father.  The  family  removed  to  Canada  in  1830,  the  father 
taking  charge  of  a  furnace  in  the  Long  Point  district,  at 
what  is  now  known  as  NormandRle.  Here  bog  iron  was 
found,  and  worked  up  extensively.  In  1834  Mr.  Leonard 
started  a  foundry  in  St.  Thomas;  and  in  1838  removed  to 
London,  where  he  commenced  the  business  now  known  by 
the  name  of  "E.  Leonard  &  Sons."  The  first  foundry  was 
on  Ridout  Street,  near  Fullarton.  Mr.  Leonard  was  mayor 
of  London  in  1857,  and  in  1862  was  elected  to  the  Legis- 
lative Council  of  Canada  for  the  Malahide  Division.  At 
confederation  he  was  appointed  a  Senator  for  the  Domin- 
ion, serving  until  his  death,  in  London,  May  14th,  1891. 

I  can  only  mention  by  name  a  few  more  of  the  pioneers 
of  that  period  :  Thos.  Moore,  a  tall  Irish  doctor  ;  Hugh 
Stevenson,  a  Scotch  Presbyterian,  who  kept  a  small  hotel 
on  Ridout  Street  ;  Frank  and  William  Pope,  Englishmen, 
builders;  S.  McBride,  tinsmith;  Thomas  Campbell,  builder; 
John  Holden,  stonemason  ;  William  Balkwill,  Englishman, 
who  took  over  Flannigan's  Hotel  (where  the  City  Hotel  is 
now)— the  Hope  Hotel  it  was  then  called;  and  his  brother, 
John,  who  started  a  brewery,  subsequently  operated  by 
Eccles  &  Labatt,  and  now  known  as  Labatt's  Brewery  ; 
Thomas  Hiscox,  an  English  farmer,  who  was  despatch 
bearer  for  the  Government,  conducted  a  freight  and  passen- 
ger stage,  carried  mails,  and  kept  a  hotel;,  William  Elliott. 
a  lawyer,  and  subsequently  county  judge,   a  highly  educated 


gentleman,   interested  alike  in  law,  literature,  education  and 

These  were  only  a  few  of  our  pioneers  who  deserve  hon- 
orable mention.  They  were  not  perfect  men  ;  many  of  them 
had  their  faults — they  could  drink  and  fight — but  they  were 
strong  men,  with  energy  and  enthusiasm,  which  their  suc- 
cessors may  well  envy.  Their  virtues  were  their  own  ; 
their  vices  and  follies  were  those  of  the  time.  But  they 
did  good  work  for  the  little  village  they  foimded  in  the 
forest,  and  we  have  no  cause  for  shame  when  we  recall 
their   names. 

The  troublous  times  of  1837-38  affected  London  to  some 
extent,  though  less  than  other  localities.  Our  historians, 
so  far,  are  still  somewhat  too  partisan  in  their  views  of 
the  actors  in  what  is  usually  spoken  of  as  "the  rebellion;" 
and  the  Conservatives  and  Liberals  of  to-day,  inheriting  the 
traditions  of  their  political  ancestors,  are  still  inclined  to 
view  the  past  with  eyes  that  can  only  distinguish  black  and 
white,  but  not  the  more  neutral  shades.  As  a  matter  of 
fact,  the  Tories  and  Reformers  of  rebellion  times  were 
neither  so  entirely  black,  nor  so  entirely  white,  as  they 
have  been  painted.  Many  of  the  prominent  pioneers  of 
Upper  Canada — U.  E.  Loyalists,  as  they  are  called — brought 
with  them  from  the  LTnited  States  that  ultra  loyalty  in 
which  the  recollection  of  personal  injuries  inflicted  by  the 
victorious  republicans  was  a  prominent  factor.  They  were, 
of  course,  really  loyal  to  Britain;  but  many  of  them  would 
have  submitted  to  the  altered  form  of  government  had  they 
not  been  persecuted  by  the  people  of  the  United  States, 
who  confiscated  the  property  and  imperilled  the  lives  of 
their  Tory  fellow-citizens.  No  wonder  that  when  the  lat- 
ter came  to  Canada  they  brought  with  them,  not  only  their 
British  loyalty,  but  an  intense  dislike  for,  and  distrust  of, 
the  people  and  the  institutions  they  had  left  behind.  Any 
movement  in  favor  of  civil  or  religious  freedom,  was,  in 
their  eyes,  a  step  towards  rebellion  and  annexation.  Who- 
ever desired  any  change  from  the  established  order  of  things 
was  a  prospective  if  not  an  actual  rebel.  As  they  them- 
selves (or,  at  least,  their  leaders)  were  the  prominent  men 
of  the  Province,  and  the  friends  and  covmsellors  of  each 
successive  governor,  with  excellent  opportunities  for  aoquir- 
ing  offices  and  appropriating  lands,  they  naturally  consid- 
ered the  general  situation  perfectly  satisfactory.  The 
faults  of  which  others  complained  were  not  so  apparent  to 
them  ;   and  they   might  be  pardoned   if  they  heard  the  voice 


of  the  detested  Yankee  in  every  complaint  that  was  uttered. 
But  the  demand  for  reform  was  certainly  justified. 
There  was  no  government  of  the  people  in  the  interests  of 
the  people.  Municipal  institutions  were  unknown.  Nom- 
inally the  Legislature  ruled  everything;  but  in  fact  the  pop- 
vdar  chamber  was  powerless.  The  Governor  or  his  Council 
could,  and  frequently  did,  ignore  the  acts  of  the  Assembly. 
At  first  the  settlers  outside  of  the  little  towns  were  too 
busy  on  their  farms,  striving  to  conquer  the  forest,  utilize 
the  soil,  and  secure  a  means  of  sustenance,  to  agitate  for 
reforms,  or  struggle  for  political  freedom.  But  this  could 
not  last.  Agitation  was  sure  to  come.  It  came  with 
Crourlay  in  1817' — as  true  a  loyalist  as  any  Tory  of  his  day. 
They  crushed  him,  and  drove  him  out  of  Canada.  Other 
agitators  followed  ;  Mackenzie,  Rolph,  Buncombe  and  their 
associates  renewed  the  fight,  and  made  their  voices  heard 
in   the   press   and   in  the  Legislature. 

There  is  not  the  slightest  doubt  that  the  great  majority 
of  the  reformers  were  loyal  men,  who  simply  desired  to 
cure  some  of  the  political  evils  that  were  retarding  the 
progress  of  the  country.  But  their  opponents  gave  them 
credit  for  no  sort  of  virtue.  Ostracised,  vilified,  persecuted 
and  prosecuted,  it  is  no  wonder  that  chagrin,  anger,  and 
despair  of  better  things  seemed  to  drive  them  into  actual 

The  leader  of  the  rebels  in  the  western  part  of  the 
Province  was  Dr.  Charles  Buncombe.  A  native  of  the 
United  States,  he  settled  in  Burford  shortly  after  the  war 
of  1812,  and  received  a  license  to  practice  medicine  in  1819.. 
He  soon  became  a  prominent  man  in  the  community.  He 
was  appointed  a  member  of  the  Provincial  Medical  Board 
in  1832,  and  in  1834  was  elected  to  the  Legislature.  He 
was  one  of  the  first  to  seek  improvements  in  education, 
and  with  Doctors  T.  D.  Morrison  and  Wm.  Bruce,  was  ap- 
pointed on  a  commission  to  inspect  the  condition  of  schools 
and  colleges.  Dr.  Hodgins,  in  his  "Educational  System  of 
Ontario,"  says  :  "The  year  1836  is  noted  in  ovir  educa- 
tional history  for  the  efforts  put  forth  vmder  the  direction 
of  the  Legislature  by  a  trio  of  doctors  (Duncomtae,  Morri- 
son and  Bruce)  to  inspect  and  improve  our  common  school 
system.  They  brought  in  an  elaborate  report,  and  append- 
ed to  it  a  voluminous  bill,  in  which  it  was  proposed  to 
grant  $60,000  per  annum  for  the  support  of  these  schools." 
Of  course  the  report  got  no  further  than  the  Assembly  at 
that  time. 


The  same  year  Duncombe  went  to  England  with  a  peti- 
tion to  the  Imperial  Government  in  the  interests  of  poli- 
tical reform.  On  his  return,  when  it  was  found  that  no 
remedy  was  likely  to  be  provided,  being  in  sympathy  with 
the  reformers,  when  their  plans  had  been  matured  in  To- 
ronto for  an  armed  outbreak,  he  was  urged  by  Mackenzie 
to  lead  the  movement  in  the  west.  He  reluctantly  con- 
sented— recognizing  the  difficulties  in  the  way  and  the  doubt- 
ful prospects.  Communicating-  with  his  radical  associates 
in  Oxford,  Middlesex  and  Norfolk,  he  endeavored  to  organize 
the  forces  of  dissent.  But  the  majority  of  them,  so  far  as 
the  Ijondon  district  was  concerned,  held  aloof,  and  failure 
was  assured  from  the  beginning.  Most  of  the  people  in  the 
Town  of  London  and  the  tovviiship  were  supporters  of  the 
Government,  and  the  few  who  sympathized  with  the  reform- 
ers were  not  prepared  for  actual  rebellion.  In  the  southern 
townships  of  Westminster,  Yarmouth  and  Southwold,  the 
Reformers  were  in  the  majority;  but  even  of  these  very  few 
favored  rebellion.  It  is  doubtful  if  Duncombe  ever  had  as 
many  as  300  under  his  command,  and  they  disbanded  and 
dispersed  as  the  militia  approached. 

Duncombe  escaped.  For  a  month  he  lay  concealed  in 
the  house  of  his  sister,  Mrs.  Schennick,  about  a  mile  south 
of  London.  As  the  vigilance  of  the  militia  abated,  his 
friend,  Chas.  Tilden,  living  near  Amhorstburg,  visited  him 
in  his  hiding  piace  and  proposed  that  he  should  attempt  to 
leave  the  country  in  the  disguise  of  a  woman — a  disguise 
which  his  smooth  round  face  and  slight  build  rendered 
feasible.  They  started  in  the  depth  of  winter  (January, 
1838),  stopped  over  night  at  the  house  of  a  friend  on 
Hitchcock  Street,  London  (now  Maple  Street),  and  pursu- 
ing their  journey  next  day  arrived  safely  at  their  destina- 
tion,  crossing  the  river   at  Marine  Citj-,   Mich. 

The  Conservative  element  of  London  was  intent  on  sup- 
pressing dissent.  John  O'Neil  headed  an  Orange  brigade 
to  drive  out  to  wherever  a  meeting  of  Reformers  was  held 
and  break  it  up  if  possible.  Lawrence  Lawrason  and  Col. 
Burwell  were  also  leaders  in  these  raids.  But  on  one  oc- 
casion at  Nixon's,  in  Westminster,  the  so-called  rebels  were 
prepared  for  them,  and  they  had  to  retreat  in  disorder. 
Then,  of  course,  they  called  on  the  authorities  for  aid. 
Sheriff  Hamilton  was  loyal  enough;  but  he  seems  to  have 
been  lacking  in  enthusiasm,  or  doubtful  of  the  wisdom  of 
pursuing  men  who  had  committed  no  act  of  rebeMion;  or, 
as    some    thought,   he   was   constitutionally    timid.        At    all 


events,     he     had     to    be   spurred   on — even   to   the   extent    of 
threatening  him  with  the  anger  of  the  Government. 

Harris,  Askin,  Lawrason,  and  their  associates,  did  the 
spurring  effectively.  Between  them  all  they  induced  the 
sheriff  to  call  out  the  militia  and  pursue  the  rebels  ;  large 
numbers  were  captured  and  imprisoned — including  men  who 
were  not  rebels  at  all.  They  scoured  the  country  and  ar- 
rested people  on  suspicion  alone.  London  jail,  which  then 
consisted  of  some  damp,  dismal  cells,  under  the  court 
house,  was  crowded.  At  one  time  not  iess  than  forty 
political  prisoners  were,  huddled  together  in  this  mediaeval 
dungeon.  The  wholesale  and  indiscriminate  arrests  may  be 
judged  by  the  following  fact  :  In  Lindsay's  "Life  of  Mac- 
kenzie" there  is  given  a  list  of  names  of  those  taken  into 
custody  as  rebels  in  the  London  district  prior  to  the  final 
invasion  from  Michigan  in  1838.  Out  of  164  so  arrested, 
97  were  discharged  by  the  magistrates  without  trial  ;  of  the 
remainder  who  went  to  trial,  28  were  either  proven  inno- 
cent or  discharged  by  the  judge  ;  7  only  were  convicted  and 
banished.  Some  few  were  liberated  on  bail.  Seven  guilty 
men  out  of  164  arrests  shovved  that  the  greater  number 
were  taken  on  suspicion  alone.  Only  one — Alvira  Ladd, 
Dennis  O'Brien's  brother-in-law,  was  condemned  to  death; 
but  he   was  subsequently  pardoned. 

But  while  these  prisoners  escaped  with  their  lives,  the 
fate  of  some  were  painful  enough.  Of  the  number  who  were 
gathered  up  from  the  southern  townships,  many,  as  I  have 
already  said,  were  simply  arrested  on  suspicion.  The  bulk 
of  the  population  consisted  of  loyal  Scotchmen  (with  the 
exception  of  a  few  who  had  come  in  from  the  United 
States),  who  wanted  neither  independence  nor  annexation — 
only  reform.  But  that  did  not  free  them  from  pains  and 
penalties.       Let  me   give   a   specimen   case  : 

John  Grieve  was  born  in  Roxboroughshire,  Scotland,  in 
1808.  When  eight  years  old  he  came  out  with  his  father, 
who  settled  on  the  third  concession  of  Westminster.  Llere 
John  married  and  established  his  home  ;  an  honorable  and 
religious  man,  and  a  good  citizen,  but  like  his  neighbors, 
an  advocate  of  political  reform.  He  never  joined  the  in- 
surgents, nor  took  up  arms,  but  at  a  logging  bee  one  day 
he  spoke  strongly  against  the  evil  courses  of  the  ruling 
jiowers.  That  was  enough  to  bring  him  under  suspicion. 
His  language  was  reported,  and  Capt.  Robson,  of  London 
Township,    drove    out    with    a    constable    and    arrested    him. 


He  was  turned  into  prison  with  the  rest  of  the  suspects. 
Here  for  six  months  he  lay,  awaiting  trial.  I  have  seen 
a  letter  he  wrote  his  wife,  under  dale  of  January  4th, 
183S,  an  old  time-worn  sheet,  yellow  with  age;  but  the  ink 
as  black  and  the  writing  as  distinct  as  though  written  yes- 
terday. And  so  he  said  to  his  wife,  dating  his  letter  from 
London   jail,    January   4th,    1838  : 

My  Dear  Wife  : 

I  am  informed  by  the  magistrate  that  I,  with  other 
prisoners,  will  be  taken  to  Toronto  immediately;  the  hand- 
cuffs are  now  a-making  for  us,  and  we  expect  to  start  to- 
morrow. I  do  not  know  for  what  purpose  they  are  taking 
us;  but  I  was  told  by  Mr.  Lawrason  that  we  would  prob- 
ably be  tried  before  we  were  brought  back.  I  have  no  idea 
when  that  time  will  be;  but  do  not  be  disheartened  my  dear 
Jane,  but  trust  to  a  kind  Providence  who  ordereth  all 
things  well,  that  we  will  again  enjoy  domestic  happiness 
together.  My  heart  is  with  you  though  I  be  far  away. 
Little  Ann,  poor  thing,  will  forget  me;  but  you  will  men- 
tion me  sometimes  to  her.  Above  all,  as  soon  as  she  is 
capable  of  imderstanding  anything,  speak  to  her  of  her 
Heavenly  Father.  Remember  while  I  am  gone  there  is  a 
double  duty  devolves  upon  you. 

(Private  affairs  follow.  Nothing  about  politics,  of 
course,   save   indirectly  in  his  closing  words)  : 

I  wish  that  all  my  friends  at  this  critical  juncture  may 
take  good  heed  to  their  way,  and  walk  strictly  according 
to   that    which   they   consider   their    duty. 

And  so   he  signs  himself. 

Your    affectionate   husband, 


At  his  trial  nothing  could  be  proved,  and  he  was  dis- 
charged. But  his  health  had  broken  down  under  confine- 
ment. Gray-haired  and  feeble,  an  old  man  while  still  in 
his  youth,  he  went  to  his  home  and  died  in  less  than  two 

By  1888  the  rebellion  appeared  to  have  been  totally 
quelled.  A  couple  of  the  leaders  had  been  executed  in  To- 
ronto; but  Mackenzie,  Duncombe,  and  their  associates,  had 
escaped  to  the  United  States.  The  colonists  had  shown 
their  loyalty  in  no  uncertain  manner,  and  common  sense 
should  have, taught  the  most  recalcitrant  radical  that  armed 
resistance  to  the  British  crown  was  both  futile  and  foolish. 


But  some  of  the  exiled  Canadians,  with  their  sympathizers 
in  the  States,  kept  up  a  continual  agitation.  A  society  for 
the  deliverance  of  Canada  was  formed.  Subordinate 
branches,  termed  "Hunter's  Lodges,"  were  organized.  Prob- 
ably from  15,000  to  20,000  people  were  connected  with 
this  scheme.  Plenty  of  money  was  provided  by  friends  of 
the  movement,  and  preparations  for  the  invasion  of  Can- 
ada were  made,  with  the  connivance  of  the  authorities  of 
the   United    States. 

The  threat  of  invasion  was  promptly  met  by  the  Cana- 
dians, and  militia  regiments  (partly  volunteers  and  partly 
drafted)  were  organized.  London  was  not  backward  in  this 
instance.  A  battalion  of  four  companies  (two  from  Lon- 
aon,  and  one  each  fromBayham  and  Yarmouth)  formed  the 
"Home  Guard."  Fortunately,  they  were  not  required  to 
leave  home.  A  British  officer,  Capt.  Thos.  H.  Ball,  was 
given  command.       The  other  officers  from  London  were  : 

Captains — John  Wilson  and   William  McMillan. 
Lieutenants — H.    C.    R.   Becher  and   John  Jennings. 
Ensigns— Sterne  Ball   and  Thomas  Ball. 
Paymaster — William   Robertson. 
Adjutant — Ross   Robertson. 
Surgeon — Dr.   McKenzie. 
Quartermaster — Freeman   Talbot. 

The  men  were  enlisted  for  eighteen  months;  but  were 
discharged   before  the   time  expired. 

The  invasion  of  the  Americans  was  confined  to  two 
raids — one  at  Prescott  and  the  other  at  Windsor — both  of 
which  were  disastrous  failures.  The  raiders  were  promptly 
dispersed,  many  of  them  captured,  and  their  leaders  sum- 
marily executed.  At  Windsor  the  raid  was  marked  by 
heartless  brutality  and  serious  damage  to  the  property  of 
the  unresisting  Canadians.  But  justice  was  swift  and 
stern.  Four  of  the  prisoners  at  Windsor  were  shot  by 
orders  of  Col.  Prince,  and  the  remainder  were  sent  to  Lon- 
don  for  trial. 

These  men  were  not  brought  before  the  ordinary  courts, 
but  were  tried  by  a  court  martial  appointed  by  the  Gov- 
ernment for  that  purpose,  and  consisting  of  Col.  Bostwick, 
President  ;  Col.  Perley  and  Geo.  W.  Whitehead,  of  Burford  ; 
Major  Barwick,  of  Blandford  ;  Col.  James  Ingersoll,  and 
Major  Beale,  of  Woodstock,  judge  advocate.  The  court  sat 
in     London     from     December   23rd,    1838,    to   January   19th, 


1839.  There  were  44  prisoners  placed  on  trial,  and  all 
found  guilty  except  one.  Only  a  comparatively  small  num- 
ber, however,  were  executed  ;  the  majority  were  either  ban- 
ished   or  pardoned. 

As  to  the  persons  who  met  their  fate  at  the  hands  of 
the  law  in  London,  historians  are  not  in  harmony.  Kings- 
ford,  Dent  and  most  writers  say  there  were  seven,  though 
their  names  are  not  all  given.  Judge  Ermatinger,  in  his 
"Talbot  Regime,"  gives  five  by  name.  Some  of  the  older 
citizens  with  whom  I  have  spoken  are  positive  there  were 
nine.  The  most  reliable  information  I  have  been  able  to 
obtain  is  from  the  records,  of  the  court  martial  in  the  Cana- 
dian archives.  From  there  we  learn  that  six  were  executed 
in  London.       They  were  the  following  : 

Hiram  Bing  Lynn,  aged  26,  from  the  United  States;  on 
January  7th,   1839. 

Daniel  Davis,  Bedford,  aged  27,  from  Kippen,  Canada  ; 
on   January  11th. 

Albert  Clarke,  aged  21,  from  the  United  States;  Janu- 
ary 14th. 

Cornelius  Cunningham,  aged  32,  from  the  United  States; 
February  4th. 

Joshua  Gilliam  Doane,   from   Upper   Canada,    and 

Amos  Perley,  from  New  Brunswick,  on  February  6th. 

The  following  were  transported  :  Samuel  Snow,  Elizur 
Stevens,  J.  Burwell  Tyrrel,  .John  Seymore  Guttridge,  James 
Milne  Aitchison,  John  Sprague,  Robert  Marsh,  Oliver  Cran- 
dall,  Riley  Monson  Stewart,  Henry  V.  Barnum,  Alvin  B. 
Sweet,  James  Peter  Williams,  Wm.  Nottage,  John  Henry 
Simmons,  Elijah  C.  Woodman,  Chauncey  Sheldon,  James 
Dewitt   Jerro,   Michael  Morin. 

The  following  were  subsequently  discharged  :  Robt.  Whit- 
ney, Orin  J.  S.  Mabee,  Joseph  Grason,  Stephen  Meadow, 
Harrison  P.  Goodrich,  John  Charter  Williams,  Daniel  Ken- 
nedy, Joseph  Horton,  Ezra  Horton,  Cornelius  Higgins, 
Charles  Reed,  David  Hay,  Wm.  Jones,  Israel  Gibbs  Att- 
wood,  David  McDougall,  Geo.  Putnam,  Wm.  Bartlett  and 
Sydney  Barber. 

Trueman  Woodbury  was  ordered  to  be  discharged,  but 
before  the  order  arrived  he  had  escaped — apparently  the 
only  one  of  the  number  who  was  able  to  elude  the  vigilance 
of  his   jailer. 


The  solitary  acquittal  was  Abraham  TiSany.  The  ages 
of  29  of  the  44  persons  are  given.  Of  these,  10  were  20 
years  and  under — one  being  only  15  years  old  ;  10  were  be- 
tween 20  and  30  years  of  age;  6  between  30  and  40;  and 
only  three  over  40.  Nothing  shows  more  clearly  the  fact 
that  many  of  the  active  rebels  were  only  boys,  who  had  no 
conception  of  the   serious  nature  of  their  conduct. 

It  may  be  of  interest  to  read  the  terms  of  the  death 
warrant  ordering  the  execution   of   the   condemned  men  : 

"  Government  House,  January  29th,  1837. 
"  James  Hamilton,  Esq.,  Sheriff,  London  District,  London  : 
"  Sir, — I  have  the  honor  to  transmit  to  you,  by  com- 
mand of  the  Lieutenant-Governor,  three  warrants  for  the 
execution,  respectively,  at  London,  of  Cornelius  Cunning- 
ham (on  Monday,  February  4th),  Joshua  Gilliam  Doane 
and  Amos  Perley  (on  Wednesday,  the  6th),  pursuant  to  the 
sentence  of  the  court-martial  therein  stated.  His  Excel- 
lency directs  that  the  warrant  be  publicly  read  before  the 
prisoners  at  the  time  and  place  of  their  execution.  You 
will,  moreover,  have  the  goodness  to  acknowledge  their  re- 
ceipt by  the  first  post,  in  order  to  obviate  the  necessity  of 
transmitting  to  you  the  exemplification  usually  forwarded 
in  cases  like  the  present.  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  sir,  your 
most  obedient   humble   servant, 

"  M.    MACAULAY." 

Misguided  and  mistaken  these  men  may  have  been,  but 
some  of  them,   at  least,  met  their  end  as  brave  men  should. 

John  Davidson,  a  farmer  in  Stanley  Township,  driving 
into  town  in  January,  1839,  overtook  a  lady  walking  into 
London,  and  gave  her  a  ride  in  his  sleigh.  At  the  hotel 
where  he  stopped  the  hostler  found  a  letter  in  the  sleigh, 
which,  it  is  supposed,  was  dropped  by  this  lady.  It  was 
written  by  Joshua  Doane  to  his  wife.  Now  that  all  par- 
ties have  left  this  earthly  scene  and  the  letter  has  no  per- 
sonal interest,  it  may  be  given  as  an  incidental  record  of 
the  past  : 

London,    January   27th,   1839. 

Dear  Wife, — I  am  at  this  moment  confined  in  the  cell 
from  which  I  am  to  go  to  the  scaffold.  I  received  my  sen- 
tence to-day,  and  am  to  be  executed  on  February  6th.  I 
am  permitted  to  see  you  to-morrow,  any  time  after  10 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  as  may  suit  you  best.  I  wish  you 
to  think  of  such  questions  as  you  wish  to  ask  me,    as  I  do 


not  know  how  long  you  will  be  permitted  to  stay.  Think 
as  little  of  my  unhappy  fate  as  you  can;  as  from  the  love 
you  bear  me,  I  know  too  well  how  it  must  affect  you.  I 
wish,  you  to  inform  my  father  and  brother  of  my  sentence 
as  soon  as  possible.  I  must  say  good-bye  for  the  night, 
and  may  God  protect  you  and  my  dear  child,  and  give  you 
fortitude  to  meet  that  coming  event  with  the  Christian 
grace-  and  fortitude  which  is  the  gift  of  Him,  our  Lord,  who 
created  us.  That  this  may  be  the  case,  is  the  prayer  of 
your   affectionate   husband,  JOSHUA   G.    DOANE. 

So,  whether  on  the  scaffold,  or  in  the  cell,  or  on  the 
sick-bed,  or  in  exile,  the  rebels  and  their  sympathizers 
passed  away  ;  and  the  black  hand  of  the  executioner  dropped 
the  curtain  on  the  last  act  of  the  tragic  drama  of  1837. 

The  close  of  the  rebellion  saw  the  beginning  of  a  new 
era  in  London's  progress.  It  was  made  a  garrison  town. 
The  regiments  quartered  in  the  London  Garrison  were  :  The 
32nd  and  83rd,  from  1838  to  1841;  the  1st  Royals  (Col. 
Wetherall)  and  the  14th,  1841  to  1843;  23rd  Royal  Welsh 
Fusiliers,  1843  to  1845;  82nd,  1845  to  1846;  81st,.  1846  to 
1847;  20th  (Col.  Home),  1847  to  1849;  and  the  23rd  a 
second  time  in  1849,  remaining  till  the  troops  were  with- 
drawn in  1852.  There  was,  also,  always  a  battery  of  artil- 
lery forming  part  of  the  garrison.* 

There  had  previously  been  no  garrison  in  this  section  of 
the  Province,  'and  when  the  military  were  required  they  had 
to  be  marched  from  a  distance.  The  authorities  now 
thought  a  different  arrangement  desirable.  Col.  Talbot's 
interest  in  St.  Thomas  might  have  been  supposed  sufficient 
to  secure  the  garrison  for  that  town.  And,  in  fact,  during 
the  rebellion,  the  Thirty-fourth  Regiment,  under  Col.  Airey 
(Talbot's  nephew)  was  stationed  there.  The  regiment  was 
first  lodged  in  a  wooden  barracks,  which  was  subsequently 
burned  ;  and  it  then  found  quarters  in  an  old  Methodist 
church.  Had  St.  Thomas  shown  any  disposition  to  pro- 
vide accommodation  for  the  garrison,  it  might  have  been 
permanently  located  there.  In  default  of  this,  however, 
London  was  selected.  A  large  tract  of  land  was  reserved 
for  the  purpose,  bounded  on  the  west  by  St.  Paul's  Church 
property,  south  by  Dufferin  Avenue,  east  by  Waterloo  Street, 

*I  am   indebted  for  this   record  of  the  garrison   troops  to  Major 
Gorman,   of   Sarnia,    whose  father  was  Librarian   of   the   23rd. 


and  north  by  a  line  a  little  below  Piccadilly  Street.  Sub- 
sequently there  was  quite  a  dispute  between  the  town  and 
the  garrison  over  the  portion  now  called  Park  Avenue. 
This  had  been  closed  up  from  the  time  the  barracks  v/as 
built,  but  the  town  claimed  that  the  street  must  jbe  opened, 
and  had  to  open  it  almost  by  force  of  arms.  Civil  and 
military  forces  faced  each  other,  the  troops  actually  firing 
on  the  citizens,  though  with  blank  cartridges.  But  the 
civil  power  prevailed   in  the  end. 

The  Government  appropriated  $150,000  for  the  erection 
of  a  barracks.  This  consisted  of  long  rows  of  two-story 
frame  buildings,  extending  east  and  west,  on  the  north  part 
of  the  reserve,  and  north  and  sovith  on  the  east  side.  The 
south-western  part  was  vitilized  as  a  parade  ground.  The 
barracks  proper  was  surrounded  by  a  stockade — two  rows 
of  posts  placed  close  to  each  other,  with  holes  through 
which  the  guns  of  the  garrison  could  meet  the  attacking 
forces.  The  parade  ground  was  closed  in  with  a  stump 
fence,   the  roots   of   the   stumps   facing   outward. 

The  principal  contractor  was  EM.  Matthews.  He  was 
an  Englishman,  who  came  to  London  in  1835,  and  took  the 
leading  place  in  town  as  a  builder.  He  resided  in  a  frame 
house  on  the  north-east  corner  of  Dundas  and  Richmond 
Streets,  the  shop  being  behind  the  house.  His  son-in-law, 
Pomeroy,  was  his  manager,  and  also  had  a  sawmill  in  Dor- 
chester, floating  his  lumber  down  the  river  to  London. 
Matthews  subsequently  committed  suicide.  One  of  the  sub- 
contractors was  John  Stewart,  who  came  from  the  North 
of  Ireland  in  1837.  His  son,  Samuel,  was  »vell  known  as 
a  local  tinsmith   in  later  years. 

In  January,  1838,  the  Thirty-second  Regiment,  Col. 
Maitland,  was  sent  to  the  new  garrison.  The  men  were 
quartered  in  O'Brien's  unfinished  brick  building,  while  the 
barracks  was  under  completion;  some  being  accommodated 
in  temporary  tents  erected  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  re- 
serves. Most  of  the  officers  were  billeted  in  private  houses, 
in  one  of   which   Col.   Maitland  died  shortly  after. 

Col.  Home's  name  became  identified  with  the  city  for 
many  years.  There  was  a  big  hill  on  the  northern  part  of 
the  reserve,  between  Pall  Mall  and  Hyman  Streets.  This 
he  cut  down,  and  formed  an  embankment  around  a  large 
reservoir  supplied  by  the  creek.  This  bore  the  name  of 
Lake  Home,  and  for  many  years  was  the  center  of  attrac- 
tion  for  the  citizens    on   the   Queen's   Birthday.       Games    of 


all  kinds,  boating,  walking  a  greasy  pole  stretched  across 
the  water,  and  various  other  sports,  supplied  the  amuse- 
ments with  which  to  celebrate  the  day.  All  that  remains 
now  of  Lake  Home  is  the  low  plot  south  of  the  C.P.R. 

The  garrison  not  only  benefited  the  town  by  the  addi- 
tion to  business  of  all  kinds  resulting  from  the  building  of 
the  barracks,  and  the  maintenance  of  the  troops,  but  it 
gave  a  decided  impetus  to  social  life.  In  the  early  days 
of  the  village  the  people  had  few  amusements.  For  the 
women  there  were  occasional  gatherings  in  the  church,  a 
visit,  and  tea  with  a  neighbor  ;  sometimes  a  quilting  bee  ; 
perhaps  a  dance  once  in  a  while.  But  most  of  them  had 
enough  to  do  in  attending  to  their  housework;  and  social 
functions  were  on  a  very  limited  scale. 

The  men  certainly  found  more  time  for  dissipation  than 
the  women,  and  it  took  the  form  of  drinking  whiskey. 
Hotels,  so-called,  were  numerous;  two  or  three  at  every 
crossroad,  and  several  in  the  block.  It  was  the  same  in 
the  country  as  in  the  town.  On  the  Goderich  road,  some 
65  miles  in  length,  there  were  in  1840  just  40  taverns. 
Everywhere  could  be  seen  the  peculiar  tavern  sign,  a  post 
15  to  20  feet  high;  on  the  top  a  frame  four  or  five  feet 
square,  and  inside  the  frame,  swinging  from  the  upper  bar, 
the  square  sign,  with  its  special  device  illustrating  the  name 
of  the  establishment.  The  Hope  Hotel,  on  the  corner  of 
Talbot  and  Dundas  Streets,  with  its  graceful  figure  resting 
against  an  anchor,  and  gazing  eagerly  into  far-off  space  ; 
the  Rob  Roy,  on  Dundas  and  Richmond  Streets,  with  the 
kilted  Highlander  ;  the  Prince  of  Orange,  on  Dundas  and 
Clarence,  with  the  figure  of  that  noted  gentleman  on  his 
white  horse,  his  sword  pointing  out  the  fleeing  Jacobites  ; 
and  so  on.  These  oid  tavern  signs,  once  so  familiar,  are 
now  seen  no  more,  and  the  taverns  are  fast  following  the 
signs  into   oblivion. 

Distilleries  also  were  numerous  in  those  days.  Prom- 
inent citizens,  like  Major  Schofield,  O'Brien,  Goodhue,  and 
others,  manufactured  whiskey  and  sold  it  cheap,  sometimes 
as  low  as   25  cents   a  gallon. 

I  have  quoted  previously  Mrs.  Jamieson's  description  of 
social  life,  summed  up  in  the  words  :  "A  good  deal  of 
drunkenness  and  profligacy."  We  must  admit  the  drunk- 
enness.      It  was  a  fashionable  foHv.       If  she  heard   of  a  cer- 


tain  magistrate  being  picked  up  in  the  street  "dead  drunk," 
he  was  no  worse  than  the'  old-time  statesmen  of  England, or 
the  United  States,  who  have  been  known,  after  finishing  up 
a  banquet,  to  sleep  off  the  effects  of  it  on  the  dining-room 
floor.  Commissioner  Jones,  of  the  Canada  Company  at 
Goderich,  being  asked  if  a  certain  person  was  not  drunk  at 
his  house,  answered  :  "Upon  my  life,  I  don't  know.  I 
never  saw  a  man  drunk  at  my  house.  I'm  always  drunk 
first  myself."  Total  abstinence  was  at  a  discount.  There 
were  some  few  abstainers,  and  some  temperance  societies, 
but  they  were  not  popular.  Col.  Talbot,  in  a  notable 
speech  to  his  neighbors  on  St.  George's  Day,  1832,  could 
not  find  stronger  language  in  which  to  condemn  the  radicals 
of  the  time  than  by  declaring  that  they  had  "commenced 
their  work  of  darkness  under  cover  of  organized  damned  cold- 
water  drinking  societies."  And  it  is  said  that  the  Colonel, 
as  the  patriarch  of  his  settlement,  vised  to  summon  all  his 
neighbors  to  his  house  on  Sundays,  where  he  read  the 
Church  service  for  their  benefit,  while  to  ensure  their 
prompt  attendance  at  prayers,  the  whiskey  was  passed 
around  after  the  benediction. 

It  is  not  likely  that  the  advent  of  the  military  discour- 
aged the  drinking  cvistoms  of  the  early  Londoners  ;  but  it 
gave  a  stimulus  to  society  life  that  was  perhaps  needed. 
Sports  of  all  kinds  were  orga,nized;,  horse-races,  cricket,  and 
other  athletic  amusements;  theatrical  plays  and  balls;  and 
society  functions,  became  a  feature  of  London  life.  Here 
the  young  ladies  met  the  black  coats  and  scarlet  jackets — 
danced,  flirted  and  married.  The  scarlet  color,  of  course, 
was  the  favorite.  Miss  Lizars  found  a  jingling  ode,  said 
to  have  been  written  by  a  commissariat  officer  about  this 
time,  in  which  a  young  lady  is  supposed  to  have  proclaimed 
the  joys  of  London  society.  A  couple  of  verses  will  be 
sufficient  : 

Sing  the  delights  of  London  society — 

Epaulette,  sabretache,  sword-knot  and  plume  ; 
Always  enchanting,  yet  knows  no  variety — 

Scarlet  alone  can  embellish  a  room. 
While  spurs  are  clattering, 
Flirting  and  chattering. 

Bend  the  proud  heroes  that  .fight  for  the  crown; 
Dancing   cotillions. 
Cutting  civilians. 

These  are  the  joys  of  a  garrison  town. 


"  Little  reck  we  of  you  black-coated  laity  ; 

Forty   to  one  upon  rouge  aga'inst  noir  ; 
On  soldiers   we  lavish  our  favors   and  gaiety, 

For  the  rest  we  leave  them  to  feel   desespoir. 

Odious  vulgarity, 
Reckless  barbarity, 

We  have  for  such  canaille  as   these  but  a  frown  ; 
While   llirting   with  fusiliers, 
Smiling   on  grenadiers — 

These  are  the  joys  of  a  garrison  town." 

But  it  .was  not  all  "beer  and  skittles."  The  people  were 
not  indifferent  to  the  more  serious  things  of  life.  Education 
was  not  neglected.  Many  of  the  early  settlers,  being  arti- 
sans and  farmers,  may  not  have  had  much  book  learning, 
but  they  tried  to  provide  for  their  children.  There  were  no 
free  public  schools  then;  and  fees  had  to  be  paid — generally 
about  $1  a  month— and   in  some  cases  even  higher. 

The  first  school  was  in  the  building  that  had  been  erect- 
ed for  a  temporary  court  house — Peter  Van  Every  being  the 
teacher.  I  have  not  been  able  to  obtain  any  special  infor- 
mation of  this  pioneer  educator;  though  he  lived  in  London 
for  several  years,  and  was  the  owner  of  property  on  the 
north-east  corners  of  Richmond  and  Dundas  Streets.  Mr. 
Rutledge  was  the  next  to  open  a  school  ;  then  came  John 
Hawkins,  about  the  present  market,  and  E.  A.  Talbot,  on 
the  corner  of  Queen's  Avenue  and  Richmond  Street.  Some 
of  the  earij'  teachers  were  not  of  the  best  quality — people 
who  were  too  lazy  and  too  ignorant  for  any  other  busi- 
ness. Talbot,  however,  was  a  well-educated  man.  Another 
good  school  was  that  of  Miss  Stimson,  daughter  of  one  of 
our  early  physicians — a  cultured  lady.  Aided  by  her  niece. 
Miss  Grannis,  she  started  a  school  in  a  log  house  of  one 
room,  in  which  a  desk,  two  or  three  low  forms,  and  a 
chair  for  the  teacher,  constituted  the  entire  furniture,  and 
a  few  books  and  slates  the  educational  apparatus.  Subse- 
quently she  moved  to  a  house  on  the  corner  of  Talbot  and 
Carling  Streets.  It  is  said  she  occasionally  punished  the 
bad  boys  by  putting  them  in  the  cellar,  where  they  consoled 
themselves  by  stealing  the  teacher's   preserves. 

Perhaps  the  most  notable  school  in  these  days  was  that 
of  William  Taylor,  an  Irishman,  from  Trinity  College,  Dub- 
lin, and  an  experienced  teacher,  who  began  on  Talbot  Street, 
just  south  of  York.       Then  he  moved  to  the  north  side  of 


Horton  Street,  near  Talbot.  Though  a  good  teacher,  his 
academic  actions  were  conducted  with  an  absolute  disregard 
of  manners  and  dignity.  The  schoolroom  was  an  addition 
to  the  house  proper,  and  served  the  double  purpose  of  an 
academy  and  a  kitchen.  Taylor  attended  to  his  duties  in 
what  he  may  have  considered  full  dress— for  he  always  wore 
his  hat  in  school— and  alternated  instruction  in  three  "R's" 
with  the  care  of  the  cooking-stove;  with  one  hand  holding 
the  tawse  and  with  the  other  manipulating  the  frying-pan. 
The  boys  relieved  the  tedium  of  study  by  putting  corked 
bottles  of  water  on  the  stove,  shying  the  most  convenient 
missiles  at  the  teacher's  hat,  sticking  bent  pins  in  his  chair, 
and  indulging  in  the  time-honored  practice  of  studious 
youths  of  all  ages.  Then  the  teacher  would  pursue  the 
boys  with  a  gad   and  thrash  them  impartially. 

The  first  attempt  at  state  aid  tor  educational  purposes 
in  Canada  was  in  1819.  By  an  Act  of  Parliament,  the 
Lieutenant-Governor  of  the  Province  was  authorized  to  ap- 
point five  trustees  for  each  district,  who  were  to  choose  a 
teacher  (subject  to  the  Governor's  approval),  for  a  district 
grammar  school,  the  Government  allowing  £100  per  annum 
for  his  support.  These  were  not  free  schools,  of  course. 
An  act  fixed  the  location  of  the  school  at  the  judicial  seat 
of  the  district,  so  that  in  the  London  district  it  was  first 
kept  at  Charlotteville,  but  in  1808  was  removed  to  Vit- 
toria.  By  Act  7,  Wm.  IV.,  Chap.  CVI.,  the  school  for  the 
London  district  was  removed  here,  and  opened  in  the  old 
building  where  Van  Every  first  taught.  And  there  it  re- 
mained until  grammar  schools  lost  their  distinctive  char- 
adter  and  became  high  schools  and  collegiate   institutes. 

The  first  grammar  school  principal  was  the  Rev.  Francis 
Wright,  but  I  have  been  imable  to  discover  anything  definite 
about  him,  beyond  the  fact  that  he  had  the  charge  of  the 
school  until  the  Rev.   B.   Bayley   was   appointed. 

Newspapers  are  supposed  to  be  educational  institiitions, 
and  London  was  not  without  its  number.  I  have  already 
mentioned  Talbot's  Sun.  After  it  ceased  to  shine,  the 
Patriot  was  issued  by  George  Burchard,  in  1833;  but  only 
lived  for  a  few  months.  About  1835,  Col.  Busteed,  who 
had  been  Secretary  to  the  Governor  of  St.  Lucia,  W.  I., 
published  the  True  Sun  for  a  short  time.  In  1835  Thos. 
and  Benjamin  Hodgkinson  came  from  Port  Burwell,  and 
established  the  London  Gazette.  In  1836  Edward  Gratton 
sent   out  a  few  numbers  of  the  London  Times  ;  and  in  1839 


Talbot  commenced  the  Freeman's  Journal,  and  C.  IL  Hack- 
staff  the  Canadian  Inquirer.  The  Gazette  was  the  Con- 
servative paper,  while  the  Inquirer  advocated  the  views  of 
the  Reformers. 

Religious  instruction  was,  if  anything,  more  advanced 
than  secular.  Dignitaries  of  the  Anglican  and  Catholic 
churches  visited  the  district  in  its  earliest  days,  and 
itinerant  clergymen,  both  regular  and  irregular,  gave 
spiritual  aid  to  the  pioneers  to  the  extent  of  their  ability. 
I  have  already  made  some  brief  reference  to  them,  which 
may  here  be  extended. 

Rev.  Mr.  Cronyn's  advent,  in  1832,  provided  the  first 
permanent  settlement  for  his  church.  Though  there  were 
not  more  than  400  people  in  the  village — if  that  many— 
quite  a  few  were  Church  of  England  peopia  ;  while  there 
were  many  more  in  I>ondon  Township.  The  lands  held  by 
Bishop  Stewart,  on  Dundas  and  Ridout  Streets,  were  dis- 
posed of,  and  the  present  site  of  St.  Paul's  Cathedral  se- 
cured. Here  the  first  Anglican  Church  was  built — a  frame 
structure,  with  a  square  tower — facing  south  on  Queen's 
Avenue.  It  was  opened  in  1835  ;  destroyed  bj^  fire  on  Ash 
Wednesdav,  1844,  and  was  succeeded  bv  the  present  cathe- 

There  were  a  number  of  Catholics  among  the  pioneers 
of  London — Dennis  O'Brien,  John  Cruickshank,  P.  Smith, 
J.  Henry,  Dr.  Anderson,  and  others.  O'Brien  was  the 
leader,  and  his  house  was  always  open  for  the  use  of  the 
visiting  clergy.  But  this  did  not  satisfy  the  ambitions  of 
a  people  always  zealous  for  their  faith.  A  building  was 
soon  erected  on  the  south-west  corner  of  Richmond  and 
Maple  Streets,  and  in  1834  it  was  dedicated  by  Father. 
Downie,  of  St.  Thomas.  Humble  in  appearance  ;  built  of 
logs,  with  an  earthen  floor,  it  was  yet  one  of  the  first 
church  edifices  duly  consecrated  to  divine  service,  and  served 
the  needs  of  its  worshippers  imtil  destroyed  by  fire  in   1851. 

I  have  mentioned  the  little  Methodist  Church,  built  in 
1833,  but  I  have  no  definite  information  in  regard  to  it. 
While  the  Wesleyan  Methodists,  as  they  were  then  called, 
held  continuous  service  in  the  village  from  its  earliest  days, 
it  was  not  until  1839  that  the  first  substantial  building 
was  erected,  on  the  south-east  corner  of  Talbot  and  King 
Streets.  Here  they  w^orshipped  until  their  removal,  some 
years  later,  to  Richmond  Street,  nearly  opposite  the  site 
of  the  City  Hall,  and  the   old  building  passed   into  the  hands 


of  the  Baptists.  Among  their  earfy  ministers  here  were 
Morris,  Stoney,  Whitney,  Newburg,  Carson,  Bennett  and 

The  first  Presbyterian  congregation  was  gathered  to- 
gether about  1832,  under  the  Rev.  John  Proudfoot,  father 
of  the  late  Dr.  Proudfoot,  who  succeeded  him  in  the  charge 
of  his  church.  This  was  a  U.  P.  (United  Presbyterian) 
body.  It  was  some  few  years  before  they  were  able  to 
erect  a  building  of  their  own— a  frame  structure — located  on 
York  Street,  west  of  where  the  Tecumseh  House  now 
stands,  which  was  used  until  its  destruction  by  fire  in  1859. 
A  notable  feature  in  the  history  of  this  church  is  the  fact 
that  here — probably  for  the  first  time  in  Canada — instru- 
mental music  was  employed  in  the  service  of  a  Presbyterian 
Church.  For  many  years  after  they  commenced  accom- 
panying the  singing  of  the  Psalms  with  an  old-fashioned 
melodeon,  the  "  Kist  of  Whistles,"  was  looked  upon 
by  other  Presbyterians  with  holy  horror. 

There  were  some  Presbyterians,  however,  who  considered 
themselves  as  belonging  to  the  Established  Church  of  Scot- 
land, and  gradually  withdrew  from  the  First  Church,  hav- 
ing the  Word  expounded  by  missionaries  and  visiting 
clergymen.  They  finally  became  strong  enough  to  form  a 
distinct  body,  and,  I  think,  a  Mr.  Eraser,  a  banker,  was 
their  principal  elder.  But  it  was  not  until  1842  that  they 
secured  from  the  Government  a  lot  on  the  north-east  cor- 
ner of  North  and  Waterloo  Streets  ;  proceeded  to  erect  a 
church,  and  to  call  the  Rev.  John  Scott  as  minister.  This 
body  became  St.  Andrew's  Free  Church — the  loyal  adherents 
of  the  Church  of  Scotland  withdrawing,  but  claiming  the 
building.  To  induce  them  to  surrender  their  claim,  the 
Government  granted  them  the  Gore,  on  Richmond  Street, 
in  1859,  where  they  erected  the  cruciform  building,  still 
standing,  and  became  what  was  called  the  "Auld  Kirk," 
with  Rev.  Francis  Nicol  as  minister.  And  so  there  were 
three  Presbyterian  denominations  in  London,  until  the 
union   of   1875. 

Other  religious  bodies  began  to  develop  in  the  early 
days — Universalists,  Congregationalists,  Baptists,  etc.;  but 
their   definite   organization  dates   to   a   later   period. 

In  this  connection  a  certain  transaction  may  be  men- 
tioned, which  is  not  only  historical,  but  illustrative  of  the 
early  law  of  land  tenure.  There  were  a  number  of  New 
Connexion   Methodists   here    in    the    later   thirties,    and   they 


thought  they  would  like  to  have  a  building  of  their  own. 
Col.  Talbot  had  charge  of  the  assignment  of  crown  lands, 
and  he  gave  them  the  corner  where  the  public  library  is 
now  located.  They  commenced  to  build;  but  their  funds 
were  insufTicient,  and  the  building  remained  for  a  time  un- 
finished. As  there  seemed  no  prospect  of  the  Methodists 
going  on  with  their  work,  the  officers  of  the  garrison  asked 
Col.  Talbot  to  transfer  the  lot  to  them,  which  he  did. 
Now  the  Colonel's  method  of  dealing  with  applicants  for 
crown  lands  was  a  very  simple  one.  He  took  his  map,  and 
with  a  pencil  marked  the  applicant's  name  on  the  lot  se- 
lected. This  was  all  the  title  the  owner  had  until  his  fees 
to  the  Government  were  paid,  and  he  received  his  patent 
for  the  land.  Until  this  was  done,  the  Colonel  controlled 
the  situation  ;  and  if  the  land  was  not  improved  to  his 
satisfaction,  he  rubbed  the  holder's  name  off  his  map,  and 
wrote  down  someone  else's.  It  was  in  accordance  with  this 
system  that  he  erased  the  name  of  the  Methodist  New  Con- 
nexion, and  inserted  that  of  Mr.  Raynor,  the  commissariat 
officer,  who  did  not  delay  taking  out  his  patent.  The 
church  building  was  finished  as  a  theatre — opened  in  1840  ; 
and  on  its  little  stage  for  many  years  striitted  the  amateur 
actors  of  garrison  times — including  some  who  are  grave  and 
dignified  citizens  of  London  to-day.  When  the  troops  left, 
the  property  remained  in  the  name  of  Mr.  Raynor,  its  legal 
owner,  and  when  he  died,  a  well-known  citizen  purchased  it 
from  his   widow   for  a  nominal   sum. 

The  growing  importance  of  the  settlement  now  rendered 
it  necessary  that  the  haphazard  system  under  which  its 
affairs  had  been  managed,  should  cease.  Municipal  insti- 
tutions, as  we  know  them,  did  not  exist  in  the  earliest  days 
of  the  Province.  The  Governor-in-Council  practically  had 
charge  of  everything.  The  Parliament  for  the  Province  was 
summoned  in  1792,  and  that  body  took  general  oversight 
of  municipal  matters,  delegating  to  the  board  of  qtiarter 
sessions  some  minor  details.  Then  an  act  was  passed, 
providing  for  the  organization  of  township  municipalities, 
by  a  vote  taken  at  a  meeting  of  the  householders,  with 
authority  to  elect  certain  township  officers  with  limited 
powers.  On  the  first  Monday  of  January,  1819,  the  first 
town  meeting  for  London  Township  was  held  at  the  house 
of  Joshua  Applegarth,  a  short  distance  west  of  "  The 
Forks."  The  summons  for  the  meeting  was  issued  by  two 
magistrates.  Col.  Talbot  and  Daniel  Springer.  Applegarth 
was  elected  first  clerk  ;  Richard  Talbot  and  Christopher 
Oxtoby,    assessors  ;    John    Young,    John    Gety    and    Ezekiel 


Gilman,  roadmasters;  Thomas  Routledge  and  Daniel  Hines, 
poundkeepers  ;  Wm.  Asket  and  Thomas  Askins,  wardens. 
And  by  these  officers  and  their  successors  the  settlement  of 
London   was   governed   for   a  time. 

But  under  this  system  local  affairs  were  far  from  satis- 
factory. The  streets  were  unimproved,  and  ornamented 
with  stumps  ;  sidewalks,  where  they  existed  at  all,  con- 
.sisted  of  a  few  planks.  The  fire  department  was  a  bucket 
brigade — every  householder  being  required  to  own  a  leather 
bucket,  and  when  a  fire  occurred,  to  fall  into  line  with  his 
neighbors,  and  pass  the  buckets  from  hand  to  hand.  The 
lighting  of  the  streets  at  night  was  effected  by  the  tallow 
candles  shining  dimly  from  the  windows  of  houses,  and  the 
brighter  lamp  from  the  tavern  door;  while  the  belated  citi- 
zen navigated  the  streets  with  the  aid  of  a  tin  lantern, 
punctured  full  of  holes  in  a  more  or  less  ornamental  pat- 
tern. The  waterworks  started  with  a  pump  at  the  court 
house  square,  supplied  by  those  springs  that  have  given 
our  aldermen  so  much  trouble  in  keeping  the  west  end  of 
Dundas  Street  properly  paved.  Later,  tanks  were  con- 
structed at  some  of  the  street  corners  for  fire-fighting  pur- 
poses; while  the  domestic  supply  came  from  the  old-fash- 
ioned bucket  dipped  into   the   old-fashioned   well. 

Sir  James  Alexander,  a  military  officer,  stationed  in 
London  a  few  years  later  (1842),  when  matters  had  some- 
what improved,   thus  describes  the  looks  of  the  little  town  : 

"Among  innumerable  stumps  of  trees,  blasted  by  fire  and 
girdling,  were  seen  wide  streets  at  right  angles  to  each 
other.  These  were  for  the  most  part  bordered  by  scat- 
tered wooden  houses,  of  one  and  two  stories,  and  many  had 
vegetable  gardens  about  them.  Stumps  of  trees  were  seen 
in  all  directions  along  the  street,  and  some  might  have 
been  found  in  the  cellars  and  kitchens  of  the  houses.  In 
the  principal  thoroughfares — Dundas  Street — where  the  best 
stores  are,  the  houses  were  adjacent,  and  some  few  of 

If  this  is  how  the  town  looked  in  1842,  it  is  evident 
that  public  improvements  were  a  pressing  necessity  in  1838, 
when  the  people  began  agitating  for  a  separate  municipal 
government.  Under  the  existing  system  it  was  evident  no 
improvements  could  be  made.  Occasionally  a  London  man 
was  elected  to  office.  John  Jennings  was  a  warden  in 
1838.  And  in  appointing  roadmasters  and  poundkeepers, 
local    men    were    selected    for    the    territory    between    "  The 


Forks."  The  township  council  was  not  disposed  to  raise 
mvich  money  for  the  benefit  of  the  village.  In  1837  about 
£,7  10s.  were  expended  for  a  pump  on  the  court-house 
square,  and  for  some  drains  and  other  repairs  on  the 
streets.  But,  as  a  rule,  what  few  local  improvements  were 
made  had  to  be  provided  for  by  local  subscriptions.  And 
while  some  of  the  settlers  were  public-spirited,  many  were 
not  disposed  to  open  their  pockets  for  the  public  good.  On 
one  occasion,  it  is  said  a  meeting  was  called  to  consider 
the  advisability  of  purchasing  a  fire  engine.  Some  were 
favorable;  but  Thomas  Parke,  M.P.,  effectually  settled  the 
agitation  by  pointing  out  that  it  would  be  much  cheaper 
for  the  people  to  go  to  a  fire  just  as  soon  as  it  com- 
menced, at  which  time  a  few  buckets  of  water  would  ex- 
tinguish  it. 

In  the  meantime,  the  settlement  had  outgrown  the  limits 
of  the  original  survey.  Mr.  Goodhue  had  purchased  a  por- 
tion of  the  Kent  farm,  north  of  the  original  survey,  and 
laid  it  out  in  May.  1830,  as  far  north  as  Hitchcock  (now 
Maple)  Street.  Mr.  Kent  followed  this  example,  and  his 
survey  of  the  land  from  Hitchcock  to  Kent  Street  bears 
date  of  May  28th,  1832.  East  of  the  settlement,  people 
began  to  take  up  land  at  an  early  date,  and  this  portion, 
extending  east  to  Adelaide,  and  north  to  Huron  Streets, 
was  finally  laid  out  between  1838  and  1840,  being  known 
for  many  years  as  the  "New  Survey."  The  first  plan  of 
this  part  of  our  city  is  on  record  in  the  Crown  Lands  De- 
partment, and  bears  the  signature  of  William  Hawken,  of 
the  Surveyor-General's  office,  and  the  date  of  May  11th, 

The  new  survey,  however,  was  not  completely  opened 
up.  There  were  three  reservations  embraced  in  this  area. 
The  first  was  the  Schofield  property,  extending  from  Dun- 
das  Street  northward  to  about  100  feet  above  Princess 
Avenue.  Its  western  boundary  ran  between  Colborne  and 
Maitland,  and  the  eastern  between  Maitland  and  William, 
When  this  was  subsequently  surveyed,  the  streets  opened 
through  it  were  much  narrower;  which  accounts  for  the 
jogs  in  this  part  of  the  city.  Then  there  were  the  Glebe 
lands  of  the  Church  of  England,  which  extended  from  Dun- 
das  Street,  south  to  Trafalgar,  and  from  the  line  of  what 
is  now  Burwell  Street,  east  to  Adelaide.  The  third  was 
the  military   reservation   previously   described. 

West  of  Richmond  and  north. of  Central  Avenue  was  also 
at  this  time  unsurveyed.       But  it  was  decided  in  obtaining 


a  charter  for  the  village  to  take  in  all  this  contiguous  ter- 
ritory— the  proposed  boundaries  being  from  Huron  Street, 
south  to  the  river,  and  Trafalgar  Street,  and  east  from  the 
river   to   Adelaide. 

The  result  of  the  movement  was  the  passage  of  an  Act 
of  Parliament,  on  the  10th  of  February,  1840,  to  "define 
the  limits  of  the  Town  of  London,  in  the  district  of  Lon- 
don, and  to  establish  a  board  of  police  therein."  The  area 
asked  for  was  allowed  ;  and  all  placed  imder  the  control  of 
the  board  of  police — exclusive  only  of  the  military  reserva- 

The  board  was  constituted  "  a  body,  corporate  and 
politic,  in  fact  and  in  law,", by  the  name  of  "The  President 
and   Board   of   Police   of   London." 

The  new  town  was  divided  into  four  wards  ;  and  the 
lines  of  division  doubtless  give  some  indication  of  the  loca- 
tion of  the  residents.  St.  George's  Ward  took  in  all  north 
of  the  center  of  Dundas  Street,  about  two-thirds  of  the  en- 
tire area  ;  St.  Patrick's  Ward  extended  from  the  south  side 
of  Dundas  to  the  north  side  of  King  ;  St.  Andrew's,  from 
the  south  side  of  King  to  the  north  side  of  Bathurst;  and 
St.  David's,  from  the  south  side  of  Bathurst  to  the  south- 
ern boundary  of  the  town. 

The  Board  of  Police  was  to  consist  of  five  persons,  one 
to  be  chosen  from  each  ward,  and  these  four  to  elect  the 

The  power  of  the  board,  while  not  very  extensive,  yet 
provided  for  a  far  greater  measure  of  self-government  than 
the  people  had  previously  enjoyed.  It  could  raise  money 
by  taxes,  not  exceeding  four  pence  on  the  pound,  a  town 
lot  not  to  be  rated  above  £5.  It  could  make  by-laws 
regulating  victualling  houses  and  slaiighter-houses;  the  sale 
of  hay,  wood  and  bread;  immoderate  driving,  fire  protec- 
tion, street  repairs,  and  generally  to  control  nuisances,  and 
to   preserve   order. 

By  authority  of  the  Act  the  sheriff  held  the  first  election 
on  the  first  Monda^y  in  March,  1840,  with  the  following 
results  : 

St.   George's  Ward — Geo.    J.    Goodhue. 
St.   Patrick's  Ward— Dennis  O'Brien. 
St.    Andrew's  Ward — Simeon  Morril. 
St.    David's   Ward— John   Balkwill. 


The  board  organized  by  the  appointment  of  James 
Givens  (afterwards  judge),  a  fifth  member;  Mr.  Goodhue  was 
chosen  President;  Alex.  Robertson,  Clerk,  and  John  Harris, 

These  men  have  all  been  mentioned  in  the  course  of  this 
paper,  with  the  exception  of  the  Clerk,  who  appears  to 
have  been  a  shiftless  sort  of  person.  Two  brothers  were 
running  a  tinshop,  and*  were  men  of  good  repute,  but  Alex- 
ander must  have  been  of  a  lower  type;  made  a  very  poor 
Clerk,    and   only   held   office   for   a   year. 

But  with  five  of  the  leading  citizens  in  control,  London 
made  a  good  start  as  a  municipality.  With  a  population 
of  over  2,000.  with  leaders  characterized  by  energy  and 
business  abiiity;  and  with  favorable  conditions,  its  pros- 
pects for  the  future  were  bright,  and  the  hopes  of  the 
people  were  sure  to  be  realized. 

Bishop    of    Huron,    1857-1871. 


On  a  chill  November  evening,  in  the  year  1832,  along 
the  bush  road,  following  the  Indian  trail  between  the 
Niagara  and  Detroit  Rivers,  just  south  of  the  present  City 
of  London  (now  known  as  the  Commissioner's  Road),  there 
toiled  in  a  rough  lumber  wagon  a  weary,  travel-stained 
family  of  immigrants,  consisting  of  the  Reverend  Benjamin 
Cronyn,  then  just  thirty  years  of  age,  his  wife,  and  two 
young  children.  Circumstances  and  surroundings  more  de- 
pressing could  hardly  be  conceived.  After  several  weeks' 
voyage,  in  an  ill-found  sailing  vessel  from  Dublin,  they  had 
arrived  in  Quebec,  and  were  now  pursuing  their  weary  way 
to  the  Township  of  Adelaide,  to  bring  the  ministrations  of 
the  church  to  the  settlers  there,  who  had  been  represented 
to  Mr.  Cronyn  before  leaving  home,  as  numerous  and  wholly 
without  the  services  of  an  ordained  minister.  For  days 
this  solitary  wagonload  had  jolted  along  through  the  nar- 
row, stumpy  road,  far  from  home  and  friends,  in  the  midst 
of  a  wilderness,  strangers  in  a  strange  land,  night  falling 
fast,    and   no    apparent   refuge   near,    the   father's   heart    was 

[*The  Right  Reverend  Benjamin  Cronyn,  first  Bishop  of  Huron, 
son  of  Thomas  Cronyn,  Esq.,  of  Kilkenny,  Ireland  ;  born  there 
11th  July,  1802  ;  educated  at  Kilkenny  College  and  Trinity  Col- 
lege, Dublin  ;  B.A.  in  1822,  Divinity  Prizeman  1824,  M.A.  1825, 
D.D.  1855  ;  ordained  Deacon  by  the  Lord  Bishop  of  Raphoe  in 
1825,  and  Priest  by  the  Archbishop  of  Tuam  on  Trinity  Sunday, 
1827.  His  first  Curacy  was  in  t'he  County  of  Cumberland,  Eng- 
land, under  the  Rev.  Carus  Wilson;  afterwards  at  Kilcormick, 
County  Longford,  Ireland,  where  he  married  Margaret  Ann  Bicker- 
staff,  daughter  of  J.  Bickerstaff,  Esq.,  of  Lislea,  and  from  whence 
he  came  to  Canada  in  1832.  Was  Incumbent  at  London  from 
1832  to  1866  ;  elected  first  Bishop  of  Huron  at  London,  Canada, 
8th  July,  1857  (the  first  Episcopal  election  held  in  Canada)  ; 
consecrated  at  Lambeth,  England,  by  His  Grace  the  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury  on  28th  October,  1857  ;  died  at  London,  Canada, 
on    the    2nd    September,    1871.] 


sorely  anxious  for  his  delicate  wife  and  little  ones.  From 
a  solitary  traveller  they  happened  to  meet,  he  inquired 
whether  any  shelter  was  to  be  found  in  the  neighborhood, 
and  then  for  the  first  time  heard  of  the  Village  of  "  The 
P''orks"  (London),  distant  about  two  miles  to  the  north  of 
where  they  were.  Thither  they  made  their  way,  down  the 
Wharncliffe  Road  and  over  Westminster  bridge;  said  to  be 
the  first  bridge  ever  erected  across  the  Thames  in  that 
neighborhood.  They  put  up  at  a  hotel,  dignified  by  the 
title  of  "  The  Mansion  House,"  kept  by  one  John  O'Neil, 
situated  on  the  north  side  of  Dundas  Street,  just  west  of 
where  Perrin's  factory  now  stands. 

London  then  contained  about  four  hundred  inhabitants. 
It  was  the  year  of.  the  cholera,  and,  in  consequence,  much 
excitement  prevailed  amongst'  them,  many  having  fled  to  the 
woods  in  dread  of  the  contagion.  So  utterly  worn  out  was 
Mrs.  Cronyn  that  it  was  decided  to  rest  there  for  a  time. 
The  arrival  of  a  Church  of  England  clergyman  becoming 
known  to  the  inhabitants,  all  were  summoned  to  service  on 
Sunday,  in  a  frame  building  on  the  south-west  corner  of 
the  court-house  square,  which  building  still  stands  ;  it 
originally  served  the  purpose  of  the  district  court  house. 
It  is  said  that  it  was  first  erected  where  the  court  house 
now  stands,  and  was  moved  to  its  present  position  to 
make  way  for  the  erection  of  the  court  house.  I  had  al- 
ways understood  that  'the  first  house  erected  in  London  was 
by  Peter  McGregor  in  1826,  near  the  corner  of  King  and 
Ridout  Streets,  but  in  "Annals  of  the  Colonial  Church" — a 
work  published  in  Quebec  many  years  ago — the  Honorable 
and  Reverend  Dr.  Stewart  is  said  to  have  reported  that  on 
Sunday,  July  28th,  1822,  he  ministered  to  a  congregation 
of  nearly  250  persons  in  London,  and  the  same  misleading 
statement  having  reappeared  in  "The  Bishops  in  Canada" 
— a  work  by  the  Reverend  Canon  Mockridge,  of  Toronto — I 
accordingly  wrote  Mr.  Freeman  Talbot,  of  Strath-Carrol, 
Assiniboia  East,  now  in  his  92nd  year,  who  settled  in  the 
Township  of  London  in  1818,  and  has  a  vivid  recollection 
of  these  early  years,  suggesting  that  perhaps  it  was  in  the 
first  church  at  St.  John's,  London  Township,  Dr.  Stewart 
had  officiated  in  1822.       He  replies  as  follows  : 

"South  Qu'Appelle,   April   11th,   1902. 
"My    Dear    Friend, — Though    now     in    my    ninety-second 
year,   I  am  both  able  and  willing  to  answer  every   question 
put  to  me   in  your  letter   of  April  7th. 


"  The  frame  of  St.  John's  Church  was  erected  on  lot 
17,  the  5th  concession  of  London  Township;  was  shingled, 
roughly  sided,  and  a  temporary  floor  put  in,  and  also  very 
temporary  windows;  so  the  church  stood  in  1823,  but  no 
further  work  was  done  until  late  in  the  forties,  though 
your  father  frequently  had  services,  there.  About  1845  or 
1846,  Mr.  Brough  employed  John  Hasket,  a  carpenter,  to 
complete  the  church.  He  laid  down  a  proper  floor,  erected 
a  pulpit  and  pews,  and  I  acted  as  auctioneer  in  selling  the 
pews.  We  gave  due  credit  to  every  original  subscriber  who 
had  paid  his  subscription  many  years  before.  And  the 
subscribers  for  the  completion  of  the  church,  who  came  in- 
to the  township  much  later,  were  perfectly  satisfied  with 
the  arrangement.  Old  Mr.  Fralic  (long  since  dead)  donated 
two  acres,  on  the  north-east  corner  of  his  lot,  for  the 
church   site  and   burial   ground. 

"  As  early  as  1822,  Mr.  Mcintosh,  the  clergyman  at 
St.  Thomas,  preached  twice  in  the  barn  of  the  late  William 
Geary,  on  lot  15,  5th  concession  of  London.  The  Reverend 
Edward  Boswell  also  held  frequent  services  in  the  Geary 
barn.  ]\Ir.  Geary  was  an  English  farmer,  and  was  em- 
ployed by  an  Irish  nobleman  to  superintend  the  agricul- 
tural works  on  his  estate.  While  so  employed  he  married 
a  Miss  Jones,  who  was  the  daughter  of  an  Episcopal 
clergyman,  and  she  always  had  a  strong  influence  in  at- 
tracting Episcopal  clergymen  to  hold  services  in  the  barn. 
Frequent  baptisms  were  held  in  the  same  building,  and  it 
was  in  that  barn  that  the  Rev.  Dr.  Stewart  ofliciated  in 

"  In  1826  Peter  McGregor,  a  little  Scotch  tailor,  who 
had  married  a  Miss  Pool,  in  the  Township  of  Westminster, 
came  to  the  town  site,  just  surveyed,  and  erected  a  very 
small  hotel  on  the  second  lot,  west  of  Ridout  Street,  front- 
ing on  King  Street.  Year  after  year,  as  business  in- 
creased, Mr.  McGregor  added  to  his  hotel,  until  he  was  able 
to  entertain   forty   or   fifty  visitors  from   day   to   day. 

"I  see  by  a  report  in  a  London  paper  of  a  speech  made 
by  Judge  Hughes,  where  he  speaks  of  a  Mr.  McCann  being 
an  early  hotelkeeper.  A  great  mistake.  William  Hale, 
Dr.  Lee,  Joseph  O'Dell,  John  O'Neil  and  Boyle  Travis  con- 
ducted from  time  to  time  the  two  leading  hotels  in  Lon- 
don :  the  Robinson  Hall  and  the  Mansion  House.  In  after 
years  Peter  McCann  erected  an  hotel  just  across  the  street 
from  the  Cathedral.  Peter  was  keeping  that  hotel  at  the 
time   I    left   London,    in   1856. 


"  In  the  month  of  August,  1832,  the  British  Govern- 
ment sent  out  four  hundred  discharged  soldiers  and  pen- 
sioners, many  with  large  families,  to  settle  in  the  Town- 
ship of  Adelaide  on  free  grants.  Houses  were  built  for 
them  under  the  direction  of  the  late  Col.  Roswell  Mount, 
at  the  time  Member  of  Parliament  for  Middlesex.  I  erected 
thirty-two  of  these  houses,  by  a  contract  with  Col.  Mount. 
At  the  same  time  came,  I  believe,  with  these  men  your 
father,  the  Blakes,  the  Radcliffs,  the  Currans,  and  many  of 
the  former  officers  of  the  discharged  soldiers.  Your  father 
had  intended  to  settle  in  Adelaide,  but  the  people  of  Lon- 
fion  persuaded  him  to  remain  with  them.  On  the  8th  day 
of  January,  1833,  your  father  married  Freeman  Talbot  and 
Ann  Eliza  Clark,  the  first  couple  ever  married  by  your 
father  in  Canada,  as  you  will  see  by  the  records  to-day  in 
St.   Paul's    Cathedral.       Your   obedient  servant, 


On  the  Monday  after  Mr.  Cronyn's  first  service,  men- 
tioned above,  he  was  waited  upon  by  a  deputation  of  the 
congregation,  begging  him  to  remain  with  them  as  their 
pastor  ;  and  immediately  on  this,  came  entreaties  from 
many  couples  in  the  neighborhood  to  be  married,  some  of 
whom  had  for  years  lived  together  as  husband  and  wife, 
but  had  never  had  an  opportunity  of  marriage  by  an 
ordained  minister.  So,  guided  by  one  named  Robert 
Parkinson,  familiar  with  the  bush,  on  horseback,  they  fol- 
lowed for  days  blazed  lines  through  the  woods,  stopping  at 
the  .settlers'  shanties,  the  parson  performing  many  mar- 
riages, oftentimes  uniting  the  parents  and  baptizing  their 
children.  Previous  to  Mr.  Cronyn's  arrival  in  London,  it 
had  been  intended  to  erect  a  church  on  the  north-west 
corner  of  Dundas  and  Ridout  Streets  ;  at  least  such  is  the 
tradition — certainly  several  burials  were  made  in  that  lot — 
but  on  application  to  the  Government,  Mr.  Cronyn  secured 
the  grant  of  the  block  of  land  upon  which  St.  Paul's  now 
stands,  and  in  1835  had  erected  thereon  a  frame  church 
facing  the  south.  Thus  described  in  a  book  published  in 
1836  :  "The  Episcopal  Church,  if  we  except  the  spire, 
which  is  disproportioned  to  the  size  of  the  tower,  is  one  of 
the  finest,  and  certainly  one  of  the  neatest  churches  in  the 
Provincr."  Between  the  Church  and  Dundas  Street  was  a 
dismal  swamp,  full  of  >fallen  trees  and  imderbrush,  where  the 
frogs  held  high  carnival   in  summer. 

Among  the  early  settlers  in  the  Township  of  Adelaide 
were   manv   of  education   and   refinement,    whose   antecedents 


unfitted  them  for  the  rough  life  of  the  bush  ;  consequently 
great  distress  soon  prevailed  amongst  them,  and  during  Mr. 
Cronyn's  first  winter,  on  one  occasion  he,  with  his  friend 
Colonel  Curran,  started  on  foot  from  London  to  Adelaide, 
carrying  a  quarter  of  beef  strung  from  a  pole  between  them, 
for  the  relief  of  friends  among  settlers  there.  Soon  the 
load  grew  heavy,  necessitating  frequent  stoppages  for  rest. 
Night  came  on,  and  the  wolves  numerous,  fierce  and  daring 
in  those  days,  scenting  the  raw  beef,  howled  uncomfortably 
near.  To  add  to  their  troubles,  they  lost  the  trail  in  the 
dark,  and  when  about  to  abandon  the  beef  and  endeavor  to 
retrace  their  steps,  discovered  a  light,  and  inaking  for  it 
found  a  logger's  shanty,  where,  stretched  on  the  floor,  with 
feet  towards  a  huge  fire,  the  choppers  slept.  They  hospitably 
made  room  between  them  for  the  tired  travellers,  who  laid 
down  and  rested  there  for  several  hours,  but  were  again  on 
the  march  long  before  daylight,  furnished  by  the  choppers 
with  a  lantern,  which  for  a  time  showed  them  the  trail 
and  kept  the  wolves  at  a  distance;  but  soon  the  light  went 
out  and  they  again  lost  their  path,  the  wolves  howling 
dangerously  near,  when  they  were  discovered  by  some  of 
the  settlers  on  the  lookout  for  the  expected  succour. 

Often  have  I  listened  to  strange  fireside  tales  by  my 
father  and  friends  of  their  Adelaide  experience.  How  they 
used  to  sleei>  on  a  straw  tick,  on  a  heap  of  brush  for  a 
bedstead,  in  the  corner  of  the  shanty  ;  of  the  inconvenience 
resulting  from  fowl  roosting  overhead  ;  how  the  bedtick 
grew  thin,  and  the  brush  underneath  becoming  painfully 
present,  was  explained  by  the  fact,  that  in  order  to  keep 
life  in  the  solitary  cow,  she  was  being  fed  daily  from  the 
straw-tick.  And,  again,  the  host  explaining,  that  it  was 
not  frequent  washing  of  his  night-cap  that  necessitated  its 
being  hung  out  to  dry,  but  simply  because  it  was  in  it  the 
pudding  had  been  boiled.  And  how  at  night  they  were 
lulled  by  the  howling  of  the  wolves,  which  at  times  becom- 
ing too  noisy,  the  door  of  the  shanty  would  be  thrown 
open  and  a  shot  fired  in  the  direction  of  the  nearest  howl, 
when   silence  would   follow. 

Soon  after  his  arrival  in  London,  my  father  was  ap- 
pointed to  the  parish  of  London  and  the  parts  adjacent. 
And  in  1836,  on  the  creation  of  the  Rectories  of  St.  Paul's, 
London,  and  St.  John's,  London  Township,  was  appointed, 
by  patent  from  the  Crown,  Rector  of  both.  The  latter  he 
resigned  in  1842,  and  that  of  St.  Paul's  in  1866.  A  fear- 
less  horseman,    he    almost    lived    in    the   saddle   in   the   early 


years  of  his  ministry,  endeavoring  to  accomplish  the  work 
of  his  limitless  parish,  and  being  an  expert  swimmer,  he 
would,  if  the  weather  permitted,  boldly  swim  his  horse  over 
swollen  streams  that  crossed  his  path.  I  have  seen  him, 
on  returning  home  after  a  particularly  miry  ride— he  and 
his  horse  bespattered  with  mud— unsaddle,  and  throwing  off 
all  but  shirt  and  trousers,  swim  the  horse  in  the  river  to 
wash  off  the  mud.  On  one  occasion,  when  driving  into 
town  from  his  residence  on  the  hill,  near  where  Mount  St. 
Joseph's  Orphange  now  stands,  with  Mrs.  Cronyn  and  a 
son  and  daughter— aged  thirteen  and  nine,  respectively— in 
the  carriage,  the  horse  took  fright  at  a  hole  in  the  bridge 
over  the  medway,  and  backed  the  vehicle  off  into  the  river. 
He  and  Mrs.  Cronyn  leaped  out  on  to  the  bridge,  but  the 
children  went  down  with  the  horse  and  carriage  into  about 
eight  feet  of  water.  The  horse  struggled  to  the  iog  pier 
of  the  bridge,  where  he  was  able  to  keep  his  head  above 
water,  but  the  children,  who  had  been  thrown  from  the  car- 
riage, went  to  the  bottom.  Mr.  Cronyn,  without  even  re- 
moving his  hat,  waited  until  the  water  cleared  sufficiently 
to  enable  him  to  see  objects  in  the  bottom,  when  he  dove 
down,  and,  taking  a  child  on  each  arm,  swam  ashore  with 
them.       My   sister   was   insensible,   but  soon  recovered. 

In  18S6  Sir  Francis  Bond  Head,  then  [Lieutenant-Governor 
of  Upper  Canada,  visited  London;  he  and  his  suite  on  horse- 
back. When  leaving,  Mr.  Cronyn  and  other  prominent  citi- 
zens accompanied  them  for  some  miles  out  of  town,  the 
parson's  faithful  hoimd  following  When  crossing  the  Oak 
Plains,  south-east  of  London,  a  deer  sprang  out  into  the 
open  glade,  the  hound  in  full  cry,  and  the  whole  cavalcade. 
Governor  and  Parson,  joined  in  the  himt,  and  had  an  ex- 
citing chase  until,  the  deer  crossing  the  river,  tlie  scent  was 

In  1837,  Mr.  Cronyn,  having  visited  Ireland,  was  return- 
ing, bringing  with  him  a  number  of  thoroughbred  dogs  for 
friends  here,  which,  on  the  road  between  Hamilton  and 
London,  were  being  conveyed  in  a  covered  wagon  following 
the  stage.  The  weather  was  bitterly  cold  at  Brantford, 
and  the  stage  proprietor,  with  rough  and  blasphemous 
language,  refused  to  permit  a  thinly-clad  negro  to  ride  in- 
side the  stage.  Mr.  Cronyn  remonstrated  ineffectvially,  and 
then  suggested  that  the  negro  might  turn  v,in  with  the  dogs, 
which  he  gladly  did.  This  was  Josiah  Henson,  the  original 
of   Mrs.    Stowe's    "Uncle   Tom,"    just   escaped    from   slavery. 


Often   afterwards   did   he   personally   thank   his   benefactor   of 
that   instance. 

I  have  sometimes  heard  the  identify  of  Henson  with 
Mrs.  Stowe's  Uncle  Tom  questioned,  but  in  1876  the  late 
Rev.  W.  Harrison  Tilley,  first  Rector  of  the  Cronyn  Memo- 
rial Church,  wrote  Mrs.  Stowe  on  the  subject,  and  I  have 
here  her  reply,   as   follows  : 

"  Amherst,  Mass.,  May  15th,  1876. 
"  Dear  Sir, — I  take  pleasure  in  endorsing  with  all  my 
heart  that  noble  black  man,  Josiah  Henson,  whom  I  believe 
to  be  worthy  of  all  the  aid,  and  help,  which  any  good  man 
may  be  disposed  to  give.  It  is  also  true  that  a  sketch  of 
his  life,  published  many  years  ago  by  the  Mass.  Anti- 
Slavery  Society-,  furnished  me  many  of  the  finest  concep- 
tions, and  incidents,  of  Uncle  Tom's  character.  In  parti- 
cular, the  scene  where  he  refuses  to  free  himself  by  the 
murder    of  a  brutal  master. 

"  The  real  history  of  Josiah  Henson.  in  some  points 
goes  even  beyond  that  of  Uncle  Tom,  in  traits  of  heroic 
manhood.  He  once  visited  me  in  Andover,  and  personal 
intercourse  confirmed  the  high  esteem  I  had  for  him.  I 
lieartily  hope  he  may  have  friends  to  assist  him  in  his 
difficulties.       Yours   very   truly,  H.   B.    STOWE." 

To  add  some  of  my  own  more  personal  recollections  of 
these    times,    I    will    begin    with   the    year    of   the   Rebellion, 

1837.  I  was  then  in  my  fifth  year.  We  resided  on  lot 
15,  in  the  3rd  concession  of  London,  on  the  brow  of  the 
hill,  over  the  north  branch  of  the  Thames,  before  referred 
to.  All  male  adults  had  been  summoned  to  serve  in  the 
militia,  and  all  firearms  requisitioned  for  their  use.  My 
father  was  absent  in  Ireland,  on  urgent  family  affairs.  My 
mother  surrendered  to  the  militia  all  firearms  in  her  pos- 
session, with  many  musket  bullets  cast  by  henself.  We  lived 
in  hourly  apprehension  of  invasion,  for  rumors  were  rife  of 
approaching  bands  of  rebels,  and  it  was  thought  that  any 
night  we  might  be  burned  in  our  beds.  So,  in  order  that 
we  might  all  die  together,  my  mother  had  us,  her  four  lit- 
tle ones,  to  sleep  in  her  room.  Our  only  wagon-road  then 
to  town  was  around  by  Ijondon  West,  over  Blackfriar's 
bridge.       I   distinctly   recollect,    in  the   winter    of   1837    and 

1838,  the  first  Sunday  after  the  arrival  of  the  32nd  Regi- 
ment of  foot,  our  coming  to  church  in  a  lumber  wagon 
drawn   by   oxen.       When   we   reached   Blackfriar's   bridge   the 


oxen  were  left  fastened  by  a  chain  under  the  bridge,  and 
we  walked  from  there  to  the  church;  we  children  doubtless 
thinking  less  of  the  service  we  were  going  to,  than  of  the 
soldiers  we  expected  to  see  there,  whom  our  youthful  ex- 
pectations had  pictured  as  men  of  gigantic  stature,  in 
gorgeous  uniform,  with  towering  plumed  helmets.  I  shall 
never  forget  our  sad  disillusion,  on  seeing  instead  a  body 
of  men,  seemingly  small  of  stature,  in  gray  winter  over- 
coats and  forage  caps,  marching  up  the  church  steps.  The 
frame  church,  as  I  have  said,  faced  the  south,  and  had  a 
high  flight  of  steps  in  front.  This  church  was  for  many 
years  the  largest  Auditorium  in  town,  and  witnessed  some 
notable  gatherings.  I  was  present  there  in  the  early  forties 
at  an  oratoria  given  by  Braham  (the  then  world-renowned 
basso)  and  his  son,  just  rising  into  fame  as  a  singer.  Lon- 
don being  on  the  high  road  between  Buffalo  and  Detroit, 
many  distinguished  artists  used  to  tarry  and  perform  at 
London,  which  otherwise  would  not  have  been  of  sufficient 
population  to   attract  them. 

The  Military  Reserve,  between  Waterloo  and  Richmond 
Streets,  extended  from  Dufferin  Avenue  (then  Bond  Street) 
on  the  south,  to  Carling's  Creek,  on  the  north.  'Tis  said 
this  twenty-four  acres  was  originally  intended  as  agricul- 
tural show  grounds,  but  was  handed  over  to  the  military 
at  the  time  of  the  Rebellion.  The  first  infantry  barracks 
were  entirely  of  logs;  to  the  east  of  Wellington  Street, 
about  where  Wolfe  Street  now  is.  Then  followed  frame 
barracks,  west  of  Wellington  ;  the  Artillery  and  Commis- 
sariat, at  the  north-east  angle  of  Wellington  and  Bond. 
For  years  London  had  two  Regiments  of  the  Line  and  a 
Battery  of  Artillery,  and  later  a  Company  of  the  Military 

Immediately  on  the  arrival  of  the  troops,  guards  were 
posted  on  the  several  bridges  and  roads  entering  the  town, 
and  no  one  was  allowed  to  pass  after  nightfall  who  could 
not  give  the  countersign.  I  remember  the  heavy  gates  on 
Blackfriar's  bridge,  erected  by  the  Royal  Engineers.  When 
summer  ,came  and  the  river  could  be  forded  in  many  places, 
these   became   a  laughing  stock,   and   were   removed. 

In  those  early  days  the  country  was  a  paradise  for 
sportsmen.  The  Thames  and  its  tributaries  swarmed  with 
fish,  including  speckled  trout,  and  the  woods  abounded  with 
game.  I  saw  my  father  shoot  a  deer  in  a  field  of  grain 
close   to   our  residence  ;    and   the   howling    of   the   wolves    at 


night  could  frequently  be  heard.  They  were  very  destruc- 
tive to  sheep  and  young  stock.  Nine  dollars  per  scalp  was 
the  reward  for  their  destruction — a  great  source  of  revenue 
to  the  Indians. 

Speaking  of  the  Indians  :  They  then  formed  a  large 
portion  of  the  population  of  this  western  peninsula,  and 
used  to  come  to  town  in  numbers  to  trade  for  their  peltries 
and  baskets.  Sleigh  loads  of  deer  for  one  dollar  per  car- 
cass was  a  common  thing.  Wild  turkeys,  quail,  partridge 
and  pigeons  abounded  within  the  present  limits  of  the  City 
of  London.  The  flight  of  wild  pigeons  in  the  spring  of  the 
year  would  at  times  aimost  darken  the  sky;  a  belt  of  them, 
for  hours  at  a  time,  extending  from  horizon  to  horizon. 
The  Thames  was  a  great  highway  for  the  Indians;  proces- 
sions of  bark  canoes  passing  and  repassing  constantly,  and 
in  the  spring  of  the  year  lumberers,  on  rafts  of  pine  timber 
from  the  Dorchester  pineries,  with  their  row  of  long  sweeps 
at  each  end,  would  pass  quickly  on  the  way  to  Lake  St. 
Clair.  With  the  spring  run  of  fish  in  the  river,  tons  would 
be  taken  with  seines  and  dip-nets,  mostly  suckers,  but  many 
mullet,  bass,  pike,  and  occasionally  sturgeon  and  maski- 
nonje  (lunges).  In  1844  I  witnessed  the  killing  of  a  bear 
in  the  river,  just  under  the  court  house,  which  had  been 
chased  from  the  woods  into  town. 

Shortly  after  London  becoming  a  garrison  town,  my 
father  was  appointed  chaplain  to  the  troops.  There  were 
usually  two  Regiments  of  the  Line  and  a  Battery  of  Artil- 
lery in  garrison.  His  Sunday  duties  were  a  drive  of  four 
miles,  from  his  residence  in  London  Township  to  the  mili- 
tary service  in  .St.  Paul's  at  9  a.m.,  then  followed  the  usual 
11  o'clock  service  ;  after  that  a  ride  of  seven  miles,  by  the 
old  winding  road  to  St.  John's,  for  an  afternoon  service, 
and  back  to  St.  Paul's  for  the  evening,  with  week-day 
services  in  cottages  and  schoolhouses  throughout  the  coun- 
try  parts. 

During  the  Rebellion  of  '37  a  large  number  of  prisoners 
were  confined  in  the  London  jail — about  one  hundred  at  one 
time,  cruelly  overcrowded.  Seven  of  them  were  condemned 
and  hung,  and  many  banished  to  "Van  Diemen's  Land." 
My  father  attended  the  unfortunates  in  their  last  hours, 
and  accompanied  them  to  the  gallows.  It  was  a  terrible 
harrowing  time,  particularly  as  he  felt  most  keenly  the  un- 
due severity  of  their  sentence. 


The  frame  church  spoken  of  was  destroyed  by  fire  on 
Ash  Wednesday,  1844,  and  the  foundation  of  the  present 
building  was  laid  with  great  ceremony,  by  the  Right  Rev. 
John  Strachan,  Bishop  of  Toronto,  on  St.  John's  day  that 
year.  The  military  turned  out  in  force,  and  the  artillery 
fired  a  salute  of  twenty  guns.  Pending  the  completion  of 
the  new  building,  the  congregation  worshipped  in  the  old 
Mechanics'  Institute;  a  frame  building,  then  standing  on  the 
court-house  square.  It  was  during  service  in  this  build- 
ing, on  a  Sunday  in  April,  1845,  that  the  cry  of  fire  an- 
nounced-the  commencement  of  the  great  fire,  whereby  about 
150  houses  were  destroyed.  Chief  Justice  Robinson  was 
present  ;  the  psalms  of  the  day  were  being  read.  The  exit 
from  the  hall  was  by  one  rather  narrow  staircase.  On  the 
alarm  the  people  near  the  door  began  to  go  out  ;  Mr. 
Cronyn  kept  on  reading,  and  the  Chief  Justice  responding 
in  clear,  deliberate  tones,  until  the  entire  congregation  had 
quietly  withdrawn.  Thus,  by  the  presence  of  mind  of  the 
Rector  and  Chief  Justice,  doubtless  a  panic,  and  probably 
serious  accident,  was  averted.  The  fire  had  commenced  in 
the  Robinson  Hall  (the  principal  hotel  at  that  time),  just 
across  the  square  from  where  they  were  at  service.  The 
Chief  Justice's  quarters  were  at  the  hotel,  and  his  unselfish 
conduct  in  endeavoring  to  avert  a  panic,  nearly  cost  him 
his  baggage,  which  he  had  barely  time  to  secure,  and  at 
some  risk.  With  a  squad  of  artillerymen  under  him,  the 
Rector  all  day,  until  late  in  the  night,  worked  at  emptying 
the  houses  of  their  furniture  ahead  of  the  fare,  which  pur- 
sued them  with  relentless  fury.  Alas,  in  many  instances, 
licking  up  the  piles  of  furniture,  which  the  salvagers 
thought  they  had  left  at  a  safe  distance  frona  danger.  At 
nightfall  the  Rector  reached  his  house  tired  out,  with  his 
Sunday  suit  very  much  the  worse  for  wear  from  the  rough 
work   in  which   he  had   been  engaged. 

London,    Ont.,    15th   April,   1902.